We have an unrivalled ability to understand all issues relating to mental health, present the client’s concerns in the best possible way and, therefore, increase the chances of a successful resolution to the case whether it be relating to children or finances.
Through our expertise, we are also able to support a client who suffers from problematic mental health, both in defending their interests in mediation/litigation and supporting their family.
In many cases, there is a need for an understanding of psychiatric or specialist psychological expertise in-house as an alternative to simply instructing a court-appointed expert who is unfamiliar with the individuals, behaviours and family dynamic. This is particularly important where an individual’s mental health history is not documented in their medical records or is not apparent from a short meeting with a court-appointed expert.
We are able to formulate strategies to demonstrate the impact of such mental health on family members to ensure that these issues are fully understood by court-appointed experts, Cafcass and social services and court alike. By doing so we increase the likelihood that such individuals will not only gain the support they need but appropriate safeguards can be put in place for the whole family unit.
Without such expertise, there is a very real danger of mental health being viewed by the court, Cafcass and others as an attempt to blame the suffering parent and therefore something which should be resisted.
Almost without exception, where our clients have previously sought legal advice from other law firms without this expertise, they feel that they have not been listened to, understood and their concerns have been used to blame the other party. This type of advice completely misunderstands the complexities of mental health difficulties and addressing such problems in litigation and can completely undermine a parent’s case if based on mental health.
Cases we have been retained on include:
- Alcohol and drug abuse and dependency;
- Anxiety and depressive disorders, including bipolar disorder;
- Personality disorders, including the “Cluster B” disorders of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)("narcissism"), anti-social personality disorder, borderline personality disorder (BPD) and histrionic disorder;
- “Cluster A” personality disorders, including paranoid personality disorder;
- Aspergers and autistic spectrum disorders;
- Schizophrenia and psychosis
Where the court requires a court-appointed expert’s report on issues of mental health, , since we have in-house mental health expertise, we are able to obtain more favourable reports for our clients as we have the ability to speak the same language as the expert concerned and ensure that our client’s concerns are properly communicated and the correct questions asked of the expert.
Because individuals with mental health difficulties often need to have multiagency support, we can assist in communication with such agencies in order to ensure that support is given and any appropriate safeguarding measures implemented. In certain cases, court proceedings can be avoided entirely in favour of a longer term care plan.
For further information, please see our articles in the Blog section of this website
Contact our Family Law Solicitors in Guildford and Cobham, Surrey and Central London
Based in Guildford and Cobham, Surrey and Central London, we can help you. If you have a family dispute that needs resolving, we are here to help and look forward to your call. Please click here to contact us, or call us on 01483 826 470