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I’m a grandparent. What legal rights do I have?

Family breakdowns are hard on everyone, especially children. However, the impact of divorce, separation, or police involvement on grandparents is rarely considered a priority. In this article, the Sweeney Miller team takes you through exactly which legal rights grandparents are entitled to with regards to their grandchildren. Do grandparents have a legal right to see their grandchildren? As it stands, grandparents do not have an automatic legal right to see their grandchildren. However, family courts understand the role that grandparents can play in the life of a child. There are options for grandparents looking to secure the right to stay in contact with (or visit) their grandchildren. This is the last resort for many grandparents, as most will first try to make an informal agreement with the child’s parents or carers. If negotiation is not successful, the issue at hand may require the involvement…

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What is a Separation Agreement and when might I need one?

Separation Agreements can deal with how a couple intend to share their assets and liabilities when they decide to separate. Such an agreement will set out their intention to live apart and typically sets out their financial arrangements whilst they are separated. When might you need to consider a separation agreement? If a couple are not married but have joint assets and liabilities, a separation agreement is a good way to document the arrangements you have made, which for a married couple would usually be dealt with as part of a divorce. When the couple is married, a separation agreement may be appropriate when divorce is not envisaged in the near future. For example, you have religious reasons against divorce or you wish to wait until you have been separated 2 years before petitioning for divorce, but wish to resolve the finances…

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Proposal to end Section 21 ‘no-fault evictions’ in England

What is a Section 21 Notice? A section 21 notice allows landlords to evict renters without providing a valid and justified reason after their fixed-term tenancy period ends. What is the current position? At the moment, landlords can give tenants as little as eight weeks’ notice after a fixed-term contract ends. What are the proposed changes? Under the government’s new plans, landlords would have to provide a “concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law” in order to bring tenancies to an end. The National Landlords Association (NLA) said its members should be able to use a Section 8 possession notice to evict someone who has broken the terms of their tenancy – for example by not paying rent. This sometimes involves landlords spending money taking action in court if the tenants refuse to leave. But NLA chief executive Richard Lambert said many landlords were forced to use…

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Lindsey Christie’s achieves great success in professional negligence case for faulty renovations

A DURHAM doctor who bought a dream ‘barn conversion; only to find renovations on the house were faulty, has won a massive £190,000 compensation thanks to North East solicitors Sweeney Miller Law. Solicitor Lindsey Christie fought doggedly for more than two years to ensure that her client received support for faulty renovations and the insurance company opposing the claim – which they could have settled with the client initially for £20,000 – ended up paying almost 10 times that amount. Mrs Christie said: “It’s a lot of money to pay out but I have no sympathy for them and every sympathy for my client. Unfortunately, he had to face a hotly-contested legal battle with an insurance-backed company who seemed intent on raising every possible legal dispute and dragging out the case for as long as possible, despite the misery they were…

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What is a Clean Break Consent Order and why might you need one when you are getting divorced?

Most people don’t realise that although their decree absolute ends their marriage, it does not automatically end their financial ties to their spouse. Financial settlement upon divorce is a separate procedure from the divorce process itself. There is no automatic ‘clean break’ without an order of the court to this effect. It is essential to seek legal advice from a Solicitor specialising in divorce law at the earliest opportunity in order to understand exactly what a clean break order is and what it would mean for your circumstances. What is a clean break consent order? If you are able to reach a financial settlement with your spouse as to how the assets and liabilities of the marriage will be divided, you can ask a judge to make this legally binding. This is known as consent order. A consent order summarises your financial settlement….

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Sweeney Miller wins manual handling accident at work claim

A warehouseman working for an international supermarket chain has reached an out of court settlement shortly before trial. The Claimant had been repeatedly lifting large heavy trays of produce at work, causing him to suffered a hernia. He sued his employer who denied liability and hotly contested the case for over 3 years before finally agreed to pay him just under £5000 in compensation for his pain and suffering. The dispute over liability was centred around the employer’s failures to property risk assess the amount of heavy lifting the Claimant’s job involved or to put any weight restrictions on the amount of produce contained in the trays the Claimant was required to lift. There were also no adjustments made to take account of the employee’s height, which resulted in the Claimant being required to lift large heavy trays from a pile of…

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North East Landlords Association Meeting – Next meeting Thursday 25th April

CALLING ALL NORTH EAST LANDLORDS – The next NEL meeting will be on the 25th April at Northern Rugby Club, Gosforth from 5.30pm onwards. The highly popular event is a must for any property investors or wannabe property investors. The event will help you get to know why NEL is being established, how we see it working and hear what you would like to see it deliver. There are experts on hand during the event to give you advice on Property and Rental legal issues, Tax & Accounts, Landlord and Property Insurance as well as Mortgages. There are also talks too: Local & National Update – There will also be an update on National and Local issues of interest to Landlords Exhibition – There will also be some stalls from companies and people that can help you with your property business. + Lots more Come along…

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New Buyers Seminar at Lloyds Bank Grey Street

For first time buyers, navigating the legal side of buying a first home can be confusing. Conveyancing – the legal area concerned with the sale and transfer of property – is the cornerstone of our service offering. So, our managing partner Paul Miller was honoured to be able to attend a first time buyers group at Lloyds Bank, Grey Street branch in Newcastle. There, he was able to offer useful home buying tips and ask any questions the attendees had. Are you a first time buyer confused about home buying? We can help. Call us today on 0191 568 20 50 for Sunderland or 0345 900 5401 for Newcastle.

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Government set to introduce ‘no fault divorce’

Current Rules Currently in England and Wales there are five official grounds for petitioning for divorce. Three of the grounds involve attributing blame to one of the parties. This allows divorce proceedings to begin immediately. These three grounds are as follows: – Adultery Unreasonable Behaviour Desertion The other two, which do not involve blame take longer: where the parties have been separated for two years and consent to the divorce or where the parties have been separated for five years which does not require consent. What is a no-fault divorce? The justice secretary confirmed that he will bring in legislation for a no-fault divorce removing the need for separating couples to wait for years or allocate blame for the breakdown of their relationship. Laws providing for a no-fault divorce will allow a family court to grant a divorce in response to a petition by…

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Damien Todd – finalist for the Rising Star Award at the Northern Law Awards

He’ll be one of 5 finalists judged by an expert panel to gauge excellent in several areas, including: • Excellent legal skills • Ability to contribute to the future management and growth of an organisation • Outstanding career development • Client service skills • Initiative • Significant impact in light of time in practice Nominations were open until the 1st March 2019, after which the panel of judges began working through entries in order to select the final five finalists. Damien and his four counterparts will each have to attend an interview this month, which will count towards the final result, awarded by the expert panel of judges on the 6th June. Of his nomination, Damien says he is “very proud and humbled to have been selected as a finalist.” He’s also looking forward to attending the awards night, as are we! This is a fantastic achievement for…

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Pain of separating will ease with new ‘no conflict’ divorce

COUPLES considering divorce but fearing their relationship might be dragged through the courts will be hugely heartened by Government plans to introduce ‘no-fault’ divorces in the near future. The move has been welcomed by Sweeney Miller Law who says handling divorce cases in future should be made that much easier for law firms, as well as the couples themselves. Lindsey Christie, head of civil litigation at the company, said: “This is a positive move to modernise divorce proceedings. Lindsey Christie, Head of Litigation “The result would be to reduce conflict between separating couples and therefore potential harm to children as well.” Under the new legislation, currently going through consultation, spouses would also lose any right to…

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