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Domestic Violence & Abuse

How Banner Jones can help you

Victims of domestic violence and abuse have several legal options available to them, and our team are here to assist in any way we can in order to make sure you get the help you need.

Domestic violence and abuse cases are eligible for ‘Legal Aid’ depending on your financial circumstances. This is a Government programme which provides funding for legal fees in certain areas. There are different levels of Legal Aid available depending on the circumstances of your case and we can advise on what level of Legal Aid is appropriate to your situation.

Banner Jones are one of the few law firms in the Chesterfield area to have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency, which enables us to provide legal services funded by Legal Aid.

There are a few different forms of legal assistance that we can provide, depending on the severity of your situation:

Warning Letter

This is a letter from a solicitor, to the abuser, outlining the grievance and telling them to discontinue their behaviour. This is a formal warning to the abuser, and their final chance to stop the abuse before things are escalated to the courts.

Applications to the Court

If a Warning Letter does not stop the behaviour, then there are two types of order that can be obtained to provide the protection required. In certain circumstances, these can be obtained without notice to the abuser:  

  • Non-Molestation Order

A Non-Molestation Order expressly forbids the abuser from using or threatening violence towards another person and/or encouraging other people to act on their behalf in this manner. The order can also be obtained for the children. It can prevent the abuser from making contact by phone or other digital means as well as by social media or any other platforms.

A Non-Molestation Order is usually granted for between 6-12 months depending on the circumstances of the situation.

It is a criminal offence if a Non-Molestation Order is breached and the Police arrest the abuser.

  • Occupation Order

An Occupation Order states who can live in the family home, which can secure your occupation in the home. It can also force the abuser to leave the home they share with the victim as well as include that they are required to contribute to the household financially, such as paying towards the mortgage/rent and any bills. The terms of the order varies depends on the circumstances of the case and what is required.

A Power of Arrest can be attached to an Occupation order, which gives the Police power to arrest the abuser for breaching the order.

An Occupation Order is usually granted for between 6-12 months depending on the circumstances of the situation.

We at Banner Jones will be with you throughout the whole process. With domestic violence and abuse often occurring within a family, our Family Team are also able to assist with any ‘next steps’ moving forward, and will be able to guide you through all your options in terms of protecting any children and divorce proceedings.

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Signs of domestic violence & abuse

If you are concerned about someone you know, it is important to be on the lookout for the signs of domestic violence and abuse. Domestic violence does not necessarily have to be physical, and the emotional damage it can cause can be much harder to notice.

An abuser will often use controlling behaviour to try to close the person off from other relationships they have with friends and family, in order to make them more reliant on the abuser. They may discourage them from attending social events, or accuse them of cheating or spending time with people they shouldn’t. This controlling behaviour may also see them try and tell them how to act and what to wear, or how to spend their money. Threats are often used to try and get the person to do what they want, as well as insults and negative comments to lower their self-esteem in order to take advantage of them.

Common signs of the effect of this sort of behaviour are a change in personality. This may be if someone starts speaking more negatively about themselves and their appearance, or seeming very reluctant to speak to friends & family they had previously been close with. If you are worried about someone you know, try and engage them in a conversation and keep a look out for the following signs:

-              They feel guilty talking to you in the first place, or mention their partner isn’t happy about them speaking to you

-              They seem overly critical of themselves

-              They mention their partner going through their personal conversations, like text messages or e-mails on their phone

-              They seem very stressed, nervous, or worried

-              They give their partner unusually large gifts, or talk about passing them an asset such as a property or financial interest.

Useful links to support charities

Our  Family Law team work closely with local organisations and charities. If you would like to seek any further support, we recommend contacting any of the following, who will be more than happy to help:

Sheffield DACT - https://sheffielddact.org.uk/ 0808 808 2241

The Elm Foundation - https://theelmfoundation.org.uk/ 01246 540464

Women’s Aid - https://www.womensaid.org.uk/

The Men’s Advice Line - https://mensadviceline.org.uk/ 0808 8010327

Refuge - https://www.refuge.org.uk/ 0808 2000 247

MIND - https://www.mind.org.uk/ 0300 123 3393

Shelter - https://www.shelter.org.uk/ 0808 800 4444

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Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.newtonmobile.hestia&hl=en_GB

iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bright-sky/id1105880511

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

He's got to keep a roof over our heads hasn't he?

Non-residential parents have to pay maintenance for their children; hopefully the amount can be agreed though negotiation and if not then the CSA will decide. Each case is different.   If for example the Mum and the children stay in the family home then she may relinquish her claims over any other assets such as pension and savings in return.

How soon can I file for Divorce?

There is a 12 month barring rule which means you can start the divorce process after being married for 1 year. In England you can get divorced if your marriage has broken down irretrivably, usually proved by allegations of adultery or unreasonable behaviour, or if there has been 2 years' of continously living apart.

My aunt only has one bank account. Can I deal with this on her behalf?

If the bank allows, it is possible for your aunt to name you as a third party on her bank account. This will allow you to withdraw funds and sign cheques on her behalf. We can help your aunt complete the mandate form required to put this in place.

What am I entitled to in a divorce? Can she take me for every penny?

No.  Sometimes it may feel as though this has happened. The aim when sharing out matrimonial assets is to be fair.  Both spouses have to make full disclosure about their assets and debts before any decisions can be made about distribution, trying to hide anything won't work.  Factors which are important when sharing out the assets include the current and future needs of each spouse and any dependent children; the length of marriage and the age, earning capacity and contributions of each party.

Will I lose touch with my children?

Your aim should be that both parents still play an active part in the raising of the child/children.  Usually parents sort this out amongst themselves, although if there are problems mediation can be a good way to resolve this.  Going to Court should always be the last resort where children are involved.

Will we have to go to Court during our divorce?

No, getting a divorce should be an administrative excersise only and there are many options open to you that avoid going to Court.

When should we consider a Post or Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

As soon as possible. The longer the pre-nuptial agreement is in place prior to a marriage or civil partnership being entered into the better. However, agreements entered into after marriage or Civil Partnership can still have legal effect.  In order for a pre-nuptial agreement of this nature to be made binding there needs to be independent legal advice for both parties, full and frank financial disclosure and no duress.  If a pre-nuptial agreement of this nature is entered into at the church door then it is open to an allegation that one party or the other has been under a level of duress to enter into the agreement.

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Thankyou Helena Downing for all your excellent service.

Mr & Mrs W, Alfreton

The family department at Banner Jones have just completed the legal arrangements in respect of my divorce. The service I received was exemplary and I wanted to write to you to let you know this. I have been pretty constrained in relation to availability to meet and most of our business has been done over email which I appreciated. Responses have been very timely, updates provided regularly, deadlines hit and fees reasonable. I contrast this with the service provided by a large law firm in Sheffield in the early part of the year and your approach and that of your staff to customer services, in my view, sets your firm apart. Your firm came to me through personal recommendation by a friend and I shall be happy to do the same. Thank you again.

Mr C, Sheffield

Thanks for your assistance with my case, your advice has been invaluable, and I would certainly recommend Banner Jones to my family and friends.

Mr P Sheffield

We would like to thank our solicitor acting for us Richard, he did a great job and was very easy to speak to and very friendly. Extremely professional and we would use him again in the future.

Mr & Mrs S, Sheffield

Talk to our friendly team today on: 0330 017 6309

Kelly Parks
Kelly Parks
Head of Family Law
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