The law exists to protect and promote a continuing relationship between children and the natural father, whether or not the parents have been married, where this is in the best interests of the children.
Following a separation, it is important that both parents work together and try to make agreed arrangements for both parents to spend time with the children.
It is important that the parents try to make agreed arrangements, either through discussions between themselves, negotiations through solicitors or by mediation, before making any application to the Court. Recent court rules mean that the Courts effectively insist on mediation being tried as a way to attempt to sort out arrangements. If an application is made to the Court without previously attempting mediation, it is likely the Judge will postpone any court proceedings and insist that the parents attend mediation before taking the court case any further.
Angela Moores will advise you as to whether Family Mediation is a suitable option for you and we can help arrange Mediation for you where required.
'Living Arrangements' can cover a number of different ways in which parents interact with their children. This can include:-
Agreed arrangements can be made or court orders sought that can include a mixture of these various ways of keeping in touch with your children.
Parental responsibility means having the legal obligations (and rights) that most parents would expect to have in relation to their natural children. It covers having the rights (and responsibilities) to make arrangements for basic issues such as:-
The natural mother of the child will always automatically have parental responsibility. However, an unmarried father will not, depending on the age of the child. If you are the father of a child born after 1st December 2003 and you are named on the birth certificate, then you do automatically have shared parental responsibility with the mother. However, if your child was born before 1st December 2003, you do not.
If you do not automatically have parental responsibility, then it can be obtained by:-
Even though you have parental responsibility with the natural mother, circumstances can still frequently arise when you are unable to agree on certain aspect of the child’s upbringing. This might typically cover making arrangements for certain medical procedures or treatments or deciding what school the child should attend.
If that occurs then the Court has the ability to make orders deciding what should happen in the form of either:-
Having the right to be involved in making decisions that affect our children’s upbringing comes with the responsibility to make a contribution towards their financial support and maintenance.
Again, the initial focus is on attempting to come to agreed arrangements for the amount of maintenance or child support that should be paid. However, if no agreement can be reached, then an assessment is carried out and enforced through the a formal Agency, rather than by an application to the Court. Only this Agency has the legal ability to enforce basic child support maintenance arrangements, if the parents cannot agree.
The way in which a Child Support maintenance figure is assessed by reference to a specific formula.
Angela Moores can assist you in working out what would be the proper amount of child support you need to pay for the children, avoiding lengthy disagreements with your former partner or the need for an assessment to be made to the formal Agency.
We can also assist you in negotiating arrangements for contact with your child, including extended holiday contact. This could be by discussion through solicitors, us helping you with the referral to mediation or making an application to the Court. We can also help by drawing up a parental responsibility agreement for signature by yourself and your former partner. Contact us for a consultation.