Articles - Resolution (published Isle of Wight Country Press 2011)

‘Speedy Resolution of Family Problems is the Best Solution’ says Ursula Bagnall, specialist Family Lawyer.

Family breakdown and the dissolution of marriage is sadly a feature of our society to-day and much is written about the emotional damage this causes to parents and children.

Ursula Bagnall has practised Family Law for over 25 years and considers that the damaging effect on families, following the break up of a couple is made worse when there is reluctance take the necessary steps to achieve a solution to their difficult situation as quickly as possible.

“Often when a new client consults me, I am quite shocked by the length of time that the couple and their children have been ‘in limbo’,” says Ursula. It is often fear of legal costs that make them reluctant to consult a Solicitor, and some people spend years struggling to survive in an unhappy, sometimes abusive environment when their relationship is long since over. They may believe they are doing so for the sake of their children, but it is widely accepted that whilst the best environment to raise children is with both parents, if that is not possible, they are happier living with one parent in a harmonious environment and seeing the other regularly, than living with both in an unhappy atmosphere.

Mediation is now urged upon couples following the breakdown of their relationship in order to help them settle differences over children and money without recourse to the Court. Mediation works best when the couple enters the process in a spirit of goodwill. Unfortunately, many couples leave it too long and/or become too entrenched for mediation to be successful; sometimes one of them simply cannot face ‘sitting around a table’ with the other.

Ursula advises anyone who is attempting to achieve a financial/property settlement following the breakdown of their relationship to consult a specialist Solicitor, in order to understand their rights and options. Provided each party is prepared to disclose his financial arrangements, a settlement may be achieved quickly through Solicitors. A ‘round the table meeting’ is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution which is often productive. Even where parties have achieved a ‘memorandum of understanding’ at Mediation, they should each consult a Solicitor for independent advice before the terms are implemented.

In cases where neither mediation nor correspondence between solicitors has been productive, then an Application to the Court for a Financial Order will be the speediest way to resolve financial issues provided the Court timetable is adhered to. The parties’ will also have the benefit of input from the District Judge as to the terms of an appropriate settlement.

Funding Solicitors fees is a major problem for many people, especially as only certain larger firms are now licensed to offer Legal Aid. However, where there will be a capital settlement, some Solicitors may be prepared to accept that payment will not be made in full until the end of the case.

Ursula Bagnall offers a free initial interview either on the telephone or in person, during which she will discuss funding options, the case generally and give initial advice as to the way forward. Ursula prides herself on being able to lend a sympathetic ear to those going through the trauma of relationship breakdown whilst also being able to quickly grasp the issues facing the client and to offer advice and guidance as to the way forward and the best means of achieving a speedy, cost effective settlement of all issues.

For more details about Ursula and her work and a fuller explanation of the Court process in financial and children cases please visit

-Sensitive Approach
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