As family lawyers we need to have a working knowledge of many other areas of law.
That knowledge may range from understanding how property is held and conveyed, to being familiar with business structures and company matters. It may include being aware of different tax regimes or employment rights and obligations. Client’s lives are complex and cover many different legal issues which have to be resolved upon a separation.
For that reason we often have to work in tandem with other lawyers or professionals to ensure that a client has the best and most comprehensive advice. A network of other professional advisors is a must for any family lawyer.
Recently we have seen more and more instances where we are working with the immigration lawyers to ensure a holistic approach to a case. Many of those cases involve a situation where one or other parent does not have permission to remain in this country upon separation but he or she has a child here in the UK.
Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides for everyone to have a “right to respect for private and family life”. That right includes the right to maintain family relationships even when a couple are separated. It is not going to be possible to maintain a parental relationship with a child if one parent is no longer permitted to remain in this country.
A child similarly has a right, under the Children Act 1989, to have a relationship with both parents and when those respective rights are taken together, it can present a strong case to the Home Office for one party to a separation to remain in this country when perhaps there are no other grounds for he / she to be allowed to do so.
These are often difficult and complex cases with a range of emotions, motivations and concerns for both parties, one of whom is also having to cope with the complicated and often frightening rules regarding visas and Home Office regulations.
For any family case where there are cross border issues, or issues of rights to remain in this country, it is essential to have an experienced immigration lawyer on board. Family law is certainly becoming ever more complex in today’s multi cultural society!
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