Tag Archives: Children

Q&A with Fiona Pawsey

Q&A with Fiona Pawsey


Hi Fiona, tell us about yourself!

Hello! I’m 47 years old, married with three children, and I’ve been working in law for several years. In the beginning of my career I was a secretary. But, I studied whilst I worked to qualify first as a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives and then finally I qualified as a Solicitor.

I see! You must have worked on quite a few cases throughout your career. What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in terms of the professional services that you provide?

There have been a vast number of cases over the years and there are invariably some challenging ones. I’ve found that financial remedy cases can be very challenging for two reasons:

  1. Often there are limited assets and there isn’t enough to meet the needs of both parties fully, particularly where there are young children involved.
  2. It can be hard managing people’s expectations of what can be achieved. What they might think is morally just and what the law can do for them can often be quite different.


What has been your most successful case this year?

The highlight of this year has been the successful defence of a challenge by a former husband to overturn a financial settlement made in 2010. My client lived outside the UK which could have made communication and instructions challenging. Despite this, even though we only had the chance to meet the client for the first time at trial, we succeeded in retaining our client’s assets and were awarded costs.

For me, successful cases are when the parties can find a way to compromise and form a resolution that works for them both – especially when there are children to think about.

What’s the secret to your success?

I like to look for solutions. I’m mindful of costs and I try to help my clients look at the wider picture. I always keep in mind, for example:

  • the available assets;
  • the parties’ incomes;
  • capacity for a mortgage;
  • what properties each party could live in.

It’s information like this which helps us find the way forward and reach a successful resolution.

Why family law?

Oddly enough, I fell into law on a Youth Training Scheme (a bit like apprenticeships in those days) and I loved it from day one. The human element in family law is what makes my job interesting as well as the variety of cases. It’s all about giving people time to tell their story and finding a solution to help them move forward at a time when emotions are often high.

Why use Newnham & Jordan Solicitors?

I like to think we give our clients time to make them feel comfortable, especially if there’s something embarrassing they need to talk about. That’s why I don’t set a fixed period of time for a free interview.

I also believe it is important to get people to look at the whole picture (rather than just looking at themselves). To do so helps them to consider ways forward and often presents solutions they may not have previously considered.

What does Fiona Pawsey do outside the office?

I like to spend time with the family. My youngest daughter has just started to get interested in cooking so we have a lot of fun with that. I also enjoy reading – my favourite author at the moment is Patricia Cornwell.

In my spare time, I sing in a local choir. It makes me relax after a stressful day. I enjoy running as well and am an active core group member of Weymouth Parkrun and Weymouth Junior Parkrun.

Any advice for anyone who has a family dispute?

There are several ways you can help yourself:

  • Get information about what assets you have, get information of mortgage capacities that are affordable. Look at the cost of rehousing and how this can work practically. Don’t forget Shared Ownership (Part Buy/Part Rent) as options when looking at finances.
  • Try to keep the lines of communication open. It is hugely important for your children to see that Mum and Dad can communicate. Don’t bring your kids into the argument – the impact on children of being involved in family arguments can be everlasting.

Children and Divorce: Helping your child

When you’re getting divorced or separating with your partner and your children don’t know about it, you ask yourself when is a good time to tell them, how do you tell them and what their reaction would be when you tell them.

They will probably react worse than you realise. Some of the questions they’ll be asking themselves are “Why won’t my parents talk to me? Where will I live? Where will I go to school? Is all this my fault?”

It is important that everyone in the family’s voice is heard and allowed to express their feelings as how people feel may vary from person to person. In times of change, remember the ones who are constant in your family’s lives – grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends – can be a strong emotional support.

Children and young people often don’t know how to express their feelings, and as a result can display quite a challenging behaviour at times.

It is important to take time to look past the behaviour to try to find out the underlying cause of their unhappiness, in order to provide them with the help that they need.

How to manage conflict and changes:

  • Communication is of vital importance when sorting out any differences within the family. If your children refuse to talk to you, there may be another adult they can talk to.
  • Try to have a consistent approach and set age appropriate boundaries, but also listen to what your child is saying and how they are feeling.
  • Listen carefully and let the child know you have understood what they have said and know how are they feeling.
  • Let everyone have his/her say and be prepared to compromise if possible.
  • Even though you may not all agree, you can still try to find a way to resolve any disagreements without shouting or smacking. Children can learn a lot from the way conflict is resolved in their family.

The impact of Separation and divorce on children

The impact of divorce and separation on children is a major concern for many parents. Although there’s children who adjust to the circumstances, there are many others who find it very hard.

For those involved, it is vitally important, if possible, that communication between parents is normal for the sake of the child. Sometimes it can be helpful to talk to someone who can act as a mediator in difficult circumstances.

Within all families, whether you are trying to bring up your children with a partner or on your own, good communication is essential whatever the circumstances.

Helping your children:

  • Remember the importance of listening to your children
  • Respect their feelings and keep in mind that they may be different from yours
  • Emphasise that what is happening is not their fault
  • Expect a change in behaviour for a time
  • Reassure them that you haven’t changed your feelings towards them
  • Keep them informed on the current situation
  • Involve them in family decisions but not in arguments
  • Involve outside agencies for additional support and mediation (if appropriate)
  • Inform the school your child studies at about the separation/divorce
  • Find support for yourself as well


You can visit www.cafcass.gov.uk for more information on how you can help your child through a divorce.

Children and Divorce: Helping your child
Good News for Child Savers

Good News for Child Savers

family held in hands-xsmlChanges in Legislation means Good News for Child Savers

Thanks to legislation introduced this April, 2014 which follows a consultation by HM Treasury, from April, 2015, parents of some six million children with savings in Child Trust Funds (CTFs) will now be able to convert their CTFs to Junior ISAs.

Up until now, the government has blocked parents from transferring money from CTFs into Junior ISAs, trapping these young savers into accounts with very poor, uncompetitive rates as compared to ISAs. For example, the best interest rate on a CTF is around 3% as compared to 6% on a Junior ISA.

What this essentially means is that children will have access to a much better choice of products, offering better savings rates for a greater return on their investment. They will also pay lower charges.

Financial experts have hailed this as ‘great news’ for child savers.

CTFs were introduced by the Labour Government in 2005 when 1 million children born between September, 2002 and January, 2011 were given vouchers of £250 each by the government to kick-start their savings.

However, the Coalition government scrapped them in 2011.  As a result, and as quoted by Danny Cox of investment firm Hargreaves Lansdowne, “Child trust funds have been in terminal decline since 2011, seeing millions trapped in expensive products.”

The current advice given to parents is to carry on saving in CTFs until April 2015 when they can then be converted into Junior ISAs.

More information about Child Trust Funds and the new legislation can be found on the government’s website at www.gov.uk.

 This article is intended for general information purposes only and  shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. Newnham &   Jordan Solicitors cannot accept  responsibility for   any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in  respect of this   article or any external articles it may refer or link to.