Book Review – A Practical Guide to Menopause and Family Law

 In Book Reviews for Private Client practitioners, Practice Management

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A Practical Guide to Menopause and Family Law by Jennifer WilliamsonThis is a book review by Gill Steel of A Practical Guide to Menopause and Family Law by Jennifer Williamson, published by Law Brief Publishing.

Purpose

Jennifer Williamson, a partner at law firm Blake Morgan LLP, has researched a developing area of practice to give practical advice to practitioners about how to identify, approach and manage a case in which either or both parties are experiencing symptoms of the menopause. All practitioners should be made aware of menopausal symptoms and the potentially adverse impact they can have on quality of life, ability to work on relationships and therefore how we take instructions from those experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Content

This handy volume contains thirteen chapters:

  1. Chapter One – Why this is important
  2. Chapter Two – Relationship breakdown
  3. Chapter Three – Approach and Path
  4. Chapter Four – Financial Remedy work
  5. Chapter Five – Nuptial Agreements
  6. Chapter Six – Children Act 1989 matters
  7. Chapter Seven – Domestic Abuse and Family Law Act applications
  8. Chapter Eight – Cohabitation Matters
  9. Chapter Nine – Disability, Protected Characteristics, Ethnic Minorities, Ethnic Groups and LGBTQ+
  10. Chapter Ten – Evidence and Experts
  11. Chapter Eleven – Should the Menopause Be Run as an Issue?
  12. Chapter Twelve – Family Lawyers and the Menopause
  13. Chapter Thirteen – Avoiding Potential Negligence

Structure & Layout

Each chapter in this useful book contains sub-headings to help guide the reader through the text, the chapter headings providing a clear guide as to what is included in the chapter. References to law, publications and useful information is provided in footnotes to the text.

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Tools

Particularly useful for the family law practitioner, nevertheless the chapters on ‘Why this topic is important’ and ‘Avoiding potential negligence’ are relevant to all private client practitioners as part of their toolbox in trying to understand their clients and whether they are able to follow the process the subject of the advice, such as making a Will or a LPA, even if menopausal symptoms are not said to reduce mental capacity.

Clarity & readability

This book is very readable and clear. Take this paragraph:

“Unless acknowledged and addressed, vulnerability can put clients at a disadvantage. Arguably, failing to address that disadvantage could amount to (a) not acting in the best interests of the client and (b) not taking account of your client’s attributes, needs and circumstances. Either would be a breach of the SRA code or principles which would bring with it the risk of a complaint to the SRA, reputational risk and financial claims for damages or compensation.”

This should encourage all practitioners to read this book.

Relevance to practitioners

Although written to aid family law practitioners, and many chapters are specifically relevant to their work, it is nevertheless of general help and assistance to all practitioners dealing with people who may be struggling to understand legal processes due to menopausal symptoms. It is a useful little book which will not take long to read but which may save you from complaints and reputational damage. I commend it to you.

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