If you missed what we’ve been sharing last month, here’s a round up of our blogs and some of the news posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

From our blog:

Reaching out: LGFL in the media

LGFL in the media Feb 2021


How LGFL are reaching new audiences through digital media channels, including digital magazine, blogs and a brand new radio station.


Financial Remedies Court now “an established and permanent part of the Family Court”

family court finance


As the Financial Remedies Courts become part of the system, we look at what they are, why they are important, and how taking proper legal advice early is still crucial for financial settlements for divorce or separation.




Why being a “keyboard warrior” could affect your family law case

keyboard typring for keyboard warrior


Communicating with your ex-partner during your separation can be stressful, but as our latest article shows, hitting Reply can help save emotional email exchanges ending up before a judge in court.





From our social media:

Still staying home

Work from home guidance to remain in place until 21 June at the earliest.


Entire school board resigns after accidental public livestream

Another reminder about being careful with remote communications.


No pay rises for judges this year

"Buckland told the review body that he will not be issuing a remit letter for an annual review of judicial pay for the 2021/22 year as the government will not be able to implement the recommendations."


Have you seen this new app from amicable?

It's to help you manage all aspects of co-parenting in one secure place, making parenting after divorce and separation simpler.


Railways and Women’s Aid help hundreds of abuse victims escape

Some help from the railways for victims of abuse. Since April last year 747 adults and 273 children — have used the Rail to Refuge scheme.




Calls for widespread coronavirus testing as more Nightingale courts announced

“If action is not taken to increase capacity further, case delays will continue to increase and more victims, witnesses, and defendants will be denied access to justice.” Law Society President David Greene talks to the Daily Mail about the courts backlog


BBC announces The Split season 3 will be the final series

For those addicted to this series - it's coming to an end!


Why Adele won’t sing about her divorce

Adele won't sing to tell all.


Top judge rocks incredible judicial face mask

Now that's a face mask to match your outifit!


The prevalence of domestic violence is staggering. It’s time to bring it out of the shadows

"The issue remains deeply misunderstood, shrouded in shame and judgment of the victims, enabled by excuse-making for the perpetrators"


A survival guide to pensions on divorce

A great resource for divorcing couples.


Divorced woman runs giveaway competition about her wedding rings

One way to deal with your wedding rings after a divorce.



If you missed what we’ve been sharing last month, here’s a round up of our blogs and some of the news posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

From our blog:

Legal support at your side: why hybrid mediation is better than standard mediation

two doors open for hybrid mediation consultation


Hybrid mediation can help you avoid lengthy court delays and costs in your divorce, separation or family issues. With your family lawyer by your side in a separate room, and a mediator relaying information, you have access to legal advice right when you need it most.


Home alone: the impact of working from home, tech poverty and home schooling on single parents

mother an children home schooling


Single or separated, and juggling the needs of home schooling the kids and working from home? Our latest article is packed with tips on how to achieve a balance through co-parenting with your ex, and links to sources of help.




Lockdown 2021: how it affects child arrangements, divorce, separation and more

lockdown 2021


Worries about how lockdown affects your child arrangements after divorce or separation? Our article updates you on the latest rules on child arrangement orders, co-parenting, selling the family home, schooling and more.



Self-representation: the mental health impact of acting for yourself in court proceedings


Tempted to represent yourself in court on a family matter or for your divorce? Read this first!

Managing Director Rita Gupta examines why the DIY option for your day in court could cost you dearly both financially and in terms of your mental health.




From our social media:

Are you free 3rd Feb at 6pm?

There's a Zoom interview with Baroness Hale, that explores the highlights of her career to date and her thoughts on the future.


Financial remedy in divorce cases just got easier

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many providers and advisers moved quickly to implement digital signatures and get the administration side of the advice process online.


Brexit changes for family law

If you have a child maintenance decision, which you want to have recognised and enforced in an EU country from 1 January 2021, contact your nearest Maintenance Enforcement Business Centre as soon as possible.

More details about the changes can be found here.


Most women who commit family violence turn to verbal abuse, report finds

Interesting article on an Australian study, has found women’s violence is underpinned by different motivations and dynamics to those of violent men. And therefore leading to the need for different 'behavioural change programs'.


Mary-Kate Olsen and ex-husband Olivier Sarkozy finalising divorce

The changes that have happened over the last year. Finalising via 'Zoom'.




For separated parents home schooling under lockdown 3.0. can be even tougher

There is great advice in this realistic article on how to approach home schooling and “ideas to help children learn that you can fit around the edges of working from home.”


Jane Seymour reflects on the lessons she learned from her 4 'painful' divorces

On what the "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" star learned most from going through divorce so many times "is to let go. To try to find a way to communicate and keep what was good in the relationship."


Urgent call for new law to tackle non-fatal strangulation in England and Wales

Victims’ commissioner says current legislation minimises seriousness of ‘domestic terror tactic’.


Coronavirus: Separated Families and Contact with Children in Care FAQs

Concerned about children moving between the homes of separated parents in the latest national lockdown? The House of Commons published a paper which gives answers.


Tough new domestic abuse tsar prepares to shape laws to protect threatened women

“My view of the role is to advise government but never step back from applying pressure. My job is to bring things to light.”

Let's hope she does make good changes for domestic abuse victims both women and men.


York mum shares 5 tips from new book on surviving divorce

In her new book called Big Girl Pants, the author shares her personal diaries throughout her divorce journey and her advice on how to have an amicable split.


Solicitors recognised in New Year Honours

Solicitors do outstanding work too and it's good to be recognised.


How an acrimonious divorce can take a financial toll

Difficult and malicious behaviour exhibited by one party during financial remedy proceedings can be punished with adverse costs orders, an adjustment of the asset division, or both.


mother an children home schooling

If you are a single parent with children, you will know the challenges of lockdown 3.0 all too well. The endless juggling of working from home with video calls, child care when you need to be in the office, home schooling for children of different ages, food to be shopped for (without the kids), the list goes on. All at a time when you may be mourning the loss of your relationship and a significant change in circumstances.

For many single parents, lockdown is having a significant economic and social effect even if you are employed and working from home. You may be cash rich in terms of income / salary, but time poor in terms of enough hours in the day to do everything. You have limited options for others to take on childcare, and grandparents can’t do what they used to either. In short, you need help.


Compassionate co-parenting

This is where effective and compassionate co-parenting can click in. As separated parents, in most cases you have shared parental responsibility that covers issues such as education. You may not live together anymore, but you still need to maintain contact with your ex for the children. Many separated couples with children have child arrangement orders in place that specify who sees the children and when.

As LGFL Managing Director Rita Gupta says:

“At this stage, it is important for both parents to take responsibility for the children, their care and their schooling during the pandemic and a national lockdown. Everyone is impacted by the current situation in different ways, and it is unfair for one parent to feel more pressure than the others.

We also need to be mindful of creating ‘good cop, bad cop’ parenting. This is where one parent is responsible for the homework and basic care, and the other parent leads all the fun activities. Sharing home schooling and activities can help prevent that, and build strong bonds with your child. Also the children will benefit from the different skills and knowledge of their parents.

Finally it sends the children an all-important message that both parents are in agreement when it comes to their education.”


Freedom of movement

A recent statement from the Rt. Hon. Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division said that there can be flexibility in child arrangements, given the current circumstances.

“The expectation must be that parents will care for children by acting sensibly and safely when making decisions regarding the arrangements for their child and deciding where and with whom their child spends time.”

Under the lockdown 3.0 rules, children of separated parents are allowed to move freely between homes as required. This allows you as co-parents to put aside your differences over the next six weeks and work together for the benefit and wellbeing of your children on two key areas of concern.

Home schooling

Converting your home into a full-time school is no simple task. It also requires a shift in mindset. There is great advice in this realistic article on how to approach home schooling and “ideas to help children learn that you can fit around the edges of working from home.”
Home schooling tips

You need space for your children to sit down and work, and access their online classroom portals and lessons via the internet. To achieve this, you need a reliable connection and sufficient bandwidth and data allowance to cope with live video lessons.

This is where so many families are struggling at present. Where you live will inevitably dictate the maximum broadband speed you can achieve. So, if the non-resident parent has the faster connection, or needs less of their bandwidth for work, it may make sense for the children to work from that home. This is a good explanation of broadband, data and bandwidth:
Broadband and bandwidth

For single parents with no fixed broadband and who rely on mobile data, your provider can temporarily increase your mobile data allowance so children can watch lessons online via a mobile device.
Get help with tech

The BBC has scheduled new online lessons on TV channels that do not require an internet connect. Morning lessons for primary school age children are on CBBC, lessons for secondary children are on BBC 2, and BBC Bitesize is available on iPlayer.
BBC education
There are lots more online resources listed on this article too:
BBC technology news

The BBC Teach channel on YouTube features lots of lessons if you want to top up teaching from your school. For example, The Maths Show is designed for GCSE level pupils:
Maths Show

Your children need devices to work on such as laptops or tablets. If you do not have access to these, your school should be able to provide one under a Dept. of Education scheme.
Get laptops scheme

Again, this is a time to share as a co-parent if you have a device that you don’t use much, and the kids have nothing suitable. Various charities may also able to help, such as your local Lions. (If you are lucky enough to have spare devices, please consider donating them.)
Lions computer help

Need inspiration for educational activities that don’t rely on the internet? Families magazine has done a lot of the work for you in their latest edition:
Families magazine

By sharing home schooling responsibilities, your children will also benefit from two sets of knowledge and life skills as part of home schooling by both parents. In turn, each of you can have free time to concentrate on your own life and work.


Challenges of communication

As family lawyers, we understand the difficulties of cooperating with you ex when relations are not normally amicable. We can write a child arrangement letter that covers the extraordinary requirements of lockdown, laying out who does what, and when. It can also set out any details you’d like included regarding tech, such as a loan of a laptop until children go back to school. Call us for details and to book your initial 1-hour consultation with 30 minutes included.

Working from home (WFH)

As a starting point, it’s important to acknowledge that neither partner’s work is “more important” than the others. If you both work, and can work from home, then sharing parental responsibility can give you extra space and time you need to work.

If you are expected or required to work from home, your employer should provide the technology you require.

“Employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.”

Employers might be willing to help boost your level of connectivity and data so home schooling is possible, as this will benefit your productivity and availability overall.
ACAS working from home

For many WFH parents with access, the biggest issue is sharing the bandwidth with children home schooling. According to a report, the average 30-minute live video lesson chews through 250Mb of data. The same will apply for your own Zoom calls for work too. For parents on a monthly data limit, the entire allowance could be gone in a few days.

Again, it’s worth contacting your service provider and asking for a temporary increase in your data allowance to cover home schooling and working, or looking for a better deal. Do bear in mind, however, that with so many children studying online, broadband speeds may be slower than expected/advertised.
Unlimited data

Space is also important, as is privacy. Amusing though it may be to have the kids crashing in on a business call dressed only in a superhero cape and a smile, it may not prove popular with colleagues and employers. Co-parenting can allow you both to schedule video meetings when Superman and his crew are being home schooled, taking exercise, or making lunch with their other parent. See the article below for hints on how to work better from home and give yourself more time.
Work from home tips


Communications, mediation and collaborative law

As family lawyers, we are able to assist with child arrangement letters and if required, mediated online meetings to sort out issues without the need to go to court. Call us to book your initial 1-hour online consultation with 30 minutes included free, to discuss your situation and practical solutions.

lockdown 2021

As a recently separated or divorced parent, you may be worried about how lockdown might affect existing child arrangements and/or access to your children in the coming weeks.

The good news is that important lessons have been learnt from the previous two lockdown, and the latest rules are more in tune and sympathetic towards modern family life than before.

With this in mind, we have written this article to address some of the most commonly faced issues for family clients.


Child Care Arrangements

Children can move freely between homes of their divorced and separated parents. If your child arrangements include children living at your home and at your ex partner’s home too, the children can move freely between both homes. You do not need to form a support bubble with your ex.


Compliance with a Child Arrangements Order (CAO)

The lockdown rules allow parents to continue with co-parenting arrangements within the scope of the guidelines. As The Rt. Hon. Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice said:

“The expectation must be that parents will care for children by acting sensibly and safely when making decisions regarding the arrangements for their child and deciding where and with whom their child spends time.”

In essence, this means that your child arrangements can be varied due to Coronavirus restrictions, but any variation must be in the spirit of the order. The aim should always be to make “safe alternative arrangements for the child”. Do bear in mind that just because you can vary child arrangements, it doesn’t mean you should. As parents, you can both be called up by the court to explain your decisions. Remember, the welfare of the child is always paramount.

The current situation will inevitably involve you communicating with your ex, for example to establish the health of each household, results of any COVID tests or self-isolation requirements, and minimise the risk of infection. If such communication is problematic for you, call us. We can advise on key areas of disagreement, and if necessary, send correspondence to try and settle the issue. Call us to discuss your situation in your online 1-hour initial consultation with 30 minutes included free (terms and conditions apply).

Forming a support bubble

Becoming a single parent for the first time during a lockdown is especially hard. If you are separated, divorced, or just currently single, you can form a support bubble with one other local household, if:

  • you have a child aged one or under


  • you are a single parent with children aged under 18


  • you live by yourself

You can stay overnight with your support bubble household.


Childcare bubbles

Childcare bubbles are different from support bubbles. If you have children under the age of 14, you can form a childcare bubble to either provide or receive childcare from one other household. However, this is NOT a social bubble, and you “must” avoid seeing childcare and support bubbles together. Nannies are able to continue working in your home. If eligible, you can access registered childcare and activities if your child is Reception age or younger, or is vulnerable, or you are a critical worker.



All schools in England are currently closed, except for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. Students will be taught remotely until February half term. (We’ll be writing a blog on the challenges of home schooling with limited access to tech and broadband, with a list of resources for help.) Nurseries and childcare are open for pre-school/early years children


Domestic abuse protection

The guidance is very clear: “You may leave home, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse).”

If you are experiencing domestic violence, the time to act is NOW.

Remember, domestic abuse includes coercive abuse and control. You can approach your child’s school under the ‘vulnerable’ category to ensure your child can attend in person, to ensure they are not exposed to the abuse.

Court proceedings

Courts in England and Wales are operating a dual system, with some cases being heard remotely via video links, and some being heard in person in a courtroom, albeit quite rare at the moment. At LGFL, we have the experience and technology to deal with all remote hearings. You are permitted to travel to a court hearing in person, and adult citizens will continue to be called up for jury service.


Working from home

The government rules state that: “Employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.” It is worth talking to your employer to discuss providing robust tech that is also available for home schooling, in that you cannot work if the kids are using the bandwidth for online classes. You might need to talk to your employer about flexible working hours too if you are also dealing with childcare / home schooling, or an ongoing divorce or family law case.

If you are newly single, this may be a challenging task. Speaking to your ex partner about sharing this responsibility may help, especially over the next few weeks.


Selling your home

If you are selling your home as part of or as the result of a divorce, you can still sell and move during this lockdown. Estate agents, letting agents and removal firms are open for business, and you can view properties in person, subject to the usual social distancing rules.  Be prepared that a house move could take longer due to changes in working methods for those involved, such as surveyors and new homes sales teams. Also be aware that the current guidance on home movingstates: “It may become necessary to pause all home moves locally or nationally for a short period of time to manage the spread of coronavirus.” 

If you are getting divorced or are separating, the sale of your former matrimonial home can be one of your biggest worries. Remember also that there are stamp duty incentives currently in place. Up until 31st March 2021, you won't pay any stamp duty when selling your main residence for up to £500,000. Above £500,000 stamp duty is due at varying rates - there’s a handy stamp duty calculator at Money Saving Expert.

This reduced rate could be a strong incentive to stop matters drifting and move on with a sale. Equally, the end of the special rate in April could persuade anxious buyers of your home to complete before that date, despite the uncertainty ahead.

If you are looking to purchase a home, keep an eye on this date too. It offers significant savings and is particularly important where matrimonial finances are limited. At the time of writing in early January 2021, the Chancellor was giving no indications that the special stamp duty rate would be extended.


Legal services from LGFL

During the first lockdown, we moved all our family law services online within a couple of days, enabling us to work remotely and safely with all our clients. So, we are here to help you with any family law issue you may have, without the need to visit us in person.

Call us to arrange your initial 1-hour online consultation, which includes 30 minutes free, giving plenty of time to explore your situation and your options.

- Call us

- Email us

- Request your appointment online

We’re delighted to have an article in the second edition of Stay Connected, the new digital magazine packed with features and advice for those still in lockdown.

In this two page article, "Private Struggles", Director Rita Gupta discusses how lockdown and associated financial pressures has caused parents to assess if private school fees are affordable and sustainable.

Interested? You can:
• Read our article for free at our website (click on the image below to download the pdf)
• Subscribe and download the May edition of Stay Connected at Issuu
• Find out more at the magazine’s social media pages:


LGFL Director Anne Leiper examines the implications of COVID-19 on the payment and future affordability of UK school fees.

For many separating and divorced parents, one of the biggest concerns is how to pay the school fees - and who covers the cost. The COVID crisis has inevitably added to this concern, as one of more parents may have lost their main source of income, or have taken a cut in income to protect their own business. As the nation looks to an uncertain economic future, the stress of financial uncertainty may lead to parents reassessing the viability of private education.


Protecting school fees in divorce

In our popular article on how to protect school fees , we highlighted various ways to ensure fees are paid through and beyond the divorce process. In the best-case scenario, payment of school fees is included in your divorce financial agreement. In a more contentious environment, you may need to go to court for a School Fees Order, which can cover school fees plus extras such as music lessons, uniforms, school trips, etc.

However, it’s important that a court will not view private school fees as a “necessity”. Now more than ever, judges are likely to consider one party’s reluctance in committing to private school fees, particularly if only one parent is responsible for the fees.


Summer school fee discounts during closure

The issue now, of course, is that children are currently not actually at school, yet private schools want the summer term fees paid. As a parent, you will have a contract with your private school, and that contract usually includes the requirement for payment of school fees by a particular date.

Almost all schools will be providing extensive online teaching and resources to ensure continuity in your child’s education, and may have done so since Easter. So there is educational activity that needs to be paid for, but not other daily costs such as catering.

As a result, many private schools have already offered a substantial reduction on summer term fees, ranging between 10% and 50%. Others have chosen not to. Some have gone for a range of options, including deferred payments, or payments in installments. Some schools are asking parents who can afford to pay the full fees to do so, and the school will use any additional income to establish a hardship fund. Schools with associated charities may also be able to help pay fees in cases of genuine need.

When can children go back to school?

On Monday 11 May, the government published a phased recovery strategy. Step Two includes a phased reopening of school from June 1 for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children in England. (In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, it seems unlikely that schools will reopen before September.) This is to allow these age groups to have “maximum time with their teachers” before the summer holidays.

For older children:

“Secondary schools and further education colleges should also prepare to begin some face to face contact with Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year, in support of their continued remote, home learning. The Government’s ambition is for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month if feasible, though this will be kept under review.”

In England, class sizes will be reduced to just 15 pupils and each class will stay together for the entire school day. Schools will be expected to initiate one way systems for corridors, stagger break and lunch times, and different times for starting and finishing the school day. The UK government has stated that no parents will be fined if they choose not to return their child to school before the summer holidays.


Will all schools reopen?

Reports suggest that some smaller private schools face the threat of closure if they do not receive their regular schools fees. They will have furloughed staff to pay and buildings and facilities to maintain. Schools may have had to invest heavily in new technologies and equipment for teachers, and spend money rapidly in order to achieve online education in a matter of days rather than weeks or months.

As an article in The Telegraph says:

“Schools are trying to strike a balance between keeping parents onside and keeping the schools afloat. Some are unlikely to offer any discount on fees at all, while others may offer refunds on services they are no longer providing such as meals or coaches. … In all cases the core cost of tuition is highly unlikely to be refunded, as most schools are teaching pupils via online classes.”

Summer school fees: beyond the budget

So, what should you do if paying for school fees is becoming problematic for you and/or your ex?

1. Contact the school for a discount

You may be surprised at the level of help they are willing to offer. According to the Financial Times:

“Many private schools, including richer institutions with endowments and freehold property such as Eton, are offering discounts of 30 per cent or more, as well as financial aid, extended credit and future fee freezes.”

This may push school fees back into your ‘affordable’ range, and you may not need to take action.

If your school has not offered a discount, contact the school and ask for one. It could be as simple as that. If not, contact other parents and get together; parental pressure on the owners of Alpha Plus Group schools resulted in a 20% discount.

2. Ask about bursaries and deferred payments

Many of our clients have successfully applied for bursaries, fee postponements and staged payments whilst they are going through a divorce. Schools are therefore well accustomed to such requests, and opening that dialogue early can help avoid panic calls later.

As Julie Robinson, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council says:

“Schools absolutely understand why parents are asking questions about fees, and the difficulty we are all experiencing adjusting to the current situation, balancing work, online education and wellbeing.”

For more information, see this Good School Guide article on scholarships and bursaries.

3. Check exactly how the school fees are currently paid

Any financial settlement or school fees order that includes school fees will include details of exactly how they are to be paid. The liability to pay for school fees is normally in joint names, so there is joint liability for the full amount of any outstanding fees. It’s important to check because if your ex is paying all or part, and they default or go over their credit card limit, you will be liable for all of the fees. Equally, you don’t want your child to lose their place at school through not knowing the financial position of your ex or that fees are not being paid.

4. Contact your ex

This may be difficult, but it is important you know how they are coping and how they view future financial commitments. If you are actively co-parenting, this may be relatively straightforward. If communications are difficult, we can draft a formal letter if required. Avoiding the subject is unlikely to be beneficial.

5. Check your Child Maintenance Service assessment

It’s important to remember that child maintenance is separate to payment of school fees. If, however, you use some of your child maintenance money to pay school fees yourself, any missed payments or reductions will affect you.

The CMS calculate the amount of child maintenance payable using uses a person’s taxable gross annual income. If the assessment was not completed with full financial disclosure, CMS applies a default rate, and you may not be receiving the correct amount.

Similarly there may not have been provision in your old financial order for annual disclosure of a P60, something we always advocate. So, you may be receiving child maintenance on a lesser, outdated salary. Do remember that sometimes a reassessment can actually lead to the payment going down, so it is important to take proper advice in order to make a measured decision.


Social distancing in private schools

Looking forward to the challenges of on-going social distancing, private schools may be in a better position to open early due to their smaller class sizes, and to use sports halls and other facilities as classrooms to maintain proper social distancing.

However, education leaders suggest it will not be a case of “schooling as usual”. As Scotland's education secretary, John Swinney told the BBC:

"There are a range of options that could be pursued around different groupings of pupils that could return to school for a limited period of the normal educational week in schools. But what I'm absolutely certain about is the idea that we could in some stage in the near future bring the entire school population back to schools is inconceivable. We are in discussion with our partners from associations to work out how best we can plan for the presumption of formal schooling.”


Act now on summer school fees invoices

So, if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to act:

  • Call your school
  • Ask about discounts
  • Request staggered or postponed payments


Concerned that your ex may not pay the school fees?

Call us for professional advice. There are ways to impose Orders through the courts, but they are not currently a priority for the already overstretched court system. As experienced family lawyers, we have decades of experience in helping separated parents resolve issues without the need for court, including collaborative law and mediation and child-centred correspondence to help you resolve the issue.

Contact us to book a 1 hour online consultation, including 30 minutes free. (For qualifying clients, T&Cs apply).

We’re thrilled to be in the first edition of Stay Connected, a new digital magazine packed with features and advice for these days of Coronavirus lockdown. Editor Lindsey Legg has set out to promote businesses that are open and “turn a negative situation into positive and memorable experiences.”

Our three page spread by Director Rita Gupta explores how lockdown is putting additional pressure on families and relationships, some of which may already be under strain.

Interested? You can:
• Read our article for free at our website (click on the image below to download the pdf)
• Subscribe and download the April edition of Stay Connected at Issuu
• Find out more at the magazine’s social media pages: