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What do I need to do if I want to move to another country with my child?

We have just finished a relocation case, successfully acting for a mother who wanted to return to her native Hungary with her young child. The father objected but at a full hearing the judge agreed the move was in the child’s best interests.

In this particular case the child was under 3 years of age and both parents and child lived in UK.  Our Head of Family Law, Jenny Sharma, acted for the mother. Both parties were foreign nationals of differing countries. The father objected to the application and wanted the child to remain in the UK so his relationship with the child could continue.

What needs to be considered to relocate a child to another country?

The Judge required full details of the plan for the child if the child were to relocate with mother to Hungary. Also required was detailed information regarding how the mother expected contact to continue between the father and the child.  The alternative scenario must also be considered, how contact would progress between both parents if the child remained in the UK given mother’s desire to return to Hungary.

The case was complicated by uncertainty regarding the father’s immigration status for remaining in the UK. Expert knowledge from our immigration solicitors came in handy here as we were able to address the judge regarding options in this regard.

After a full hearing the Judge agreed the child’s best interests were served by returning to Hungary with mother and having regular contact with father in both Hungary and the UK.

Jenny Sharma also successfully dealt with this client’s divorce from start to finish against father of the child.

As always she gave a truly personal service to this client at an extremely emotional and uncertain time for her. She was in the UK alone, with no family to support her and thus Jenny was always available to her by phone, email and visits.

Relocating with a child

If you need any help or advice about relocating to another country with a child, no matter how complicated the circumstances, please get in touch. First appointments with Jenny Sharma are free and your enquiry will be completely confidential and handled sensitively.

Have you been affected by the Windrush Scandal?

There’s been lots in the news recently about the Windrush Scandal and the terrible impact of the Home Office treatment of people from the Commonwealth who are struggling to prove their right to be in the UK.

The scale is only now beginning to be understood, this article from the BBC confirms:

 

Of the 524,000 people living in the UK in June 2017 who arrived from a Commonwealth country before 1971, 57,000 of them are not UK nationals.  Of this group, 15,000 were from Jamaica, 13,000 from India and 29,000 from elsewhere

There is so much anxiety and uncertainty in the community following the coverage of the windrush cases and we are keen to help those who are worried about their status.

We hold at least two free immigration advice sessions each week, anyone is welcome to come along, and you don’t need an appointment.

All information discussed with us will be strictly confidential.

If you are unsure of your status please come along to one of our advice sessions or get in touch.  We’ve helped other people in similar situations. Through his work with the Refugee and Migrant Centre, Jim Wilson helped Paulette Wilson secure her official leave to remain status.

If you or someone you know has no status in the UK, you should check to see if your parents or grandparents came to the UK before 1971, as you or they may be British and not even know it.

For friendly, confidential advice, please get in touch with our highly experienced immigration team. Or come along to one of our free advice sessions.

Do I still need to see a solicitor to get divorced?

You may have seen in the news that the process of getting divorced is being modernised enabling couples to make applications for divorce online rather than having to go to court.

Making applications for divorce easier and accessible to everyone is a good thing. However I would still advise a trip to the solicitor’s office for legal advice on your options before embarking on a do-it-yourself application.

The reason for this is that many clients assume they fulfil one of the categories for divorce when actually they don’t. An example is the requirement to be separated for 2 years or more and have the consent of the other party, known as the respondent spouse. They may well have been separated for 2 years but often they are unsure if their estranged spouse will agree to complete the acknowledgment form. They start the divorce and pay the hefty court fee of £550  only to discover along the line that spouse will not sign or acknowledge the papers. More often than not this leads to a dismissal of the original application (incurring a court fee) and a re-issue of another divorce application and a further court fee of £550 for another category such as unreasonable behaviour. Another misconception is 5 years separation. I often hear from clients the assumption that if they have remained separated for over 5 years the divorce is ‘automatic’ and does not require an application as such. Clearly this is wrong.

For this reason I hope the on line scheme will advise all applicants to seek legal advice first before making their divorce application. Such advice does not have to cost the client anything. Free advice clinics and free first appointments are crucial in such cases. There is no obligation to instruct, you see a qualified and experienced solicitor, the advice you receive is free and most important of all it could stop you making mistakes that can cost you a lot of money later on.

For advice and information or to book your free first appointment please contact our Head of Family Law Jenny Sharma. 

How can I recover money owed to me? 

At some point in our lives we may encounter the word ‘debt’. You may be owed money from an individual or a business. So how can the J M Wilson team help you recover the money you are owed? 

We understand that recovering debt is stressful, especially when you have several other important things that require your attention. We can help defuse awkward situations without you being involved and preserve your relationships with good clients by pursuing the debt in a firm but professional manner. 

Before taking court action, we look to undertake steps to make the individual debtor (person owing the debt) aware that they owe you a debt and provide them with a deadline to repay that debt. Under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 you are entitled to claim back the costs involved with recovering your debts. Under this Act, we are able to recover the costs of using our services at various stages of the collection process in relation to the debt. Furthermore, if your claim is successful, we can help you claim compensation and additional interest on the outstanding debt. You are entitled to claim £40.00 to £100.00 in compensation per invoice and interest at 8% above the Bank of England’s base rate, this is all in addition to the original debt amount and legal costs*. 

At J M Wilson Solicitors our priority is to try and settle the matter first without going to court thus keeping your legal fees to a minimum. Should the debtor refuse to comply with our requests for payment it may then be necessary to take the matter to court. 

Once a County Court Order or High Court Enforcement Order has been obtained against the debtor, there are various options available for you to enforce the debt. 

Some of these options are as follows:

  • Instructing court bailiffs to seize goods at the debtor’s property to be sold for payment of the debt;
  • An attachment of earnings order for the debtor to pay instalments from his or her earnings towards the money owed;
  • A charging order to secure the debt over any property that the debtor may own, and ultimately;
  • Insolvency proceedings to bring a bankruptcy petition against an individual or a winding up petition against a company. 

At J M Wilson Solicitors, we take a strong but professional approach to recovering debt owed to you, whether this is a large or small sum.   

If you feel you may be owed money of any amount, we are happy to talk to you to discuss your options and provide you with professional legal advice. Ask to speak to our specialist advisor, Lisa Shocker from our Civil and Commercial Litigation department on 0121 356 4556 or email your enquiry to enquiry@jmwilsonsolicitors.com.

 *This is subject to whether the debt qualifies as a commercial debt under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.

Do I have permission to live in the UK?

Do I have permission to live in the UK? It’s a question we’ve been asked many times over the last few days and months from people who’ve lived in the UK for many years but are now wondering what their legal status is.  We’ve had enquiries from many local people, born in Jamaica and other Commonwealth countries and arrived in the UK in the 1970s. They are now scared about their citizenship and rights to basic services in the UK.

The Guardian newspaper has done a fantastic job of highlighting the plight of people who have been cruelly affected by the Home Office’s insistence that people prove their right to be here despite having lived in UK for the vast majority of their lives.  In the worst cases the windrush generation have been threatened with deportation, held at detention centres, faced large bills for NHS services, and been made redundant.  Our very own James Wilson has been involved in the case of Paulette Wilson, who was held in Yarl’s Wood detention centre and came very close to being deported. Thankfully she now has received a biometric residence permit and is in the process of gaining British Citizenship and damages from the Home Office for the treatment she suffered.

 

For everyone else who is in a similar position, we are glad to see that, finally, pressure on the government, from a wide range of individuals and organisations including from David Lammy MP and David Harewood has led to an apology from the Home Secretary. The gov.uk website has been recently updated too.

 

For anyone who is worried about their immigration status and right to remain in the UK, work here, and access services, this is the latest advice from the Home Office.

 

It explains the legal position, acknowledges that the documents asked for can be difficult to source, but also states:

“We are clear that no one with the right to be here will be required to leave. There will be a solution available for your situation.”

 

The information also explains some of the options available to you and contains links to the forms needed, along with examples of the evidence needed.  We know that this isn’t easy to wade through if you are unfamiliar with the process. We’ve been giving out lots of advice and information to concerned residents recently and will continue to do so.  We hold a series of free immigration advice sessions each month, no appointment is needed, if you need our help simply turn up. If you can’t make any of these sessions then you can also contact us.

Commenting on the situation, Sanjeev Sharma said: “Unfortunately I am not shocked by the way the Home Office have treated these types of cases. The Home Office has never applied a common sense approach to cases. Instead they put the onus on the applicant to provide evidence, evidence that is often in the possession of the Home Office. This is why it is important that before any applications are made you obtain legal advice to ensure your application has the best chance of succeeding.”

 

For advice please contact our Immigration Department.

 

 

GDPR – Could this be the end to Subject Access Requests in immigration cases?

Making Subject Access Requests to the Home Office is an important tool for legal representatives in establishing a person’s immigration history in the UK. They can provide invaluable details about previous applications made, the evidence relied upon and even contain the caseworker’s notes during the consideration process of previous applications.

Read more