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If you have received a letter inviting you to attend a PLO meeting, a Banner Jones expert in Chesterfield, Sheffield, Mansfield and Nottingham can help.

In the event that a local authority, such as Social Services, feels that they have serious concerns about the care of a child, the parent/parents may receive a letter from the local authority inviting them to a Pre Proceedings Meeting or PLO meeting (PLO stands for Public Law Outline). The meeting is an opportunity to address the concerns that the local authority has. The stress of going through the court system can be avoided if the issues can be resolved at the PLO meeting.

In the letter, the authority will inform the parent/parents that they are entitled to be accompanied to the PLO meeting by a solicitor. Having legal representation at the PLO meeting is vital. A specialist Care Law solicitor will be able to explain the concerns the local authority has about the child, and offer expert advice to the parent/parents on how to resolve the situation most efficiently.

Although PLO meetings are designed to be constructive, it may be upsetting for a parent to hear what the local authority has to say about their children. By offering independent legal advice, a solicitor will help to keep the discussion on track with a view to doing what is best for both the children and the parents.

Legal Aid is available for all parents, and also for those with parental responsibility.

If you have received a letter about a PLO meeting, or need more information, call an expert on 0330 017 6302* or email info@bannerjones.co.uk.

*calls cost no more than a local 01 number and are included in your mobile minutes.

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.

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