Parental responsibility is hard to define. What might be easier to state is what holding parental responsibility entitles a parent to do.
When a relationship has broken down one of the most difficult issues to be dealt with can be the living arrangements for the children …
The proponents of arbitration emphasise the privacy that it brings (particularly for clients in whom the media may be interested); the fact that if desired, the couple can select their arbitrator and the location of the arbitration hearing; and that on the day they can be guaranteed a prompt start without the Judge being occupied with other matters. The location (usually a solicitor’s office or barrister’s chambers) is generally an improvement on court waiting rooms.
One of the issues that often comes in to play is what happens to a pre-existing visit or care pattern? If a child spends every other weekend and one night each week with one parent in term time, does that carry on during the school holidays? It may be clear that it needs to be suspended when one or other parent takes the child away on an actual holiday, but what about those weeks in between when little Johnny is at a holiday club or Grandma comes to stay to help out?
It can be easy to forget that the change the immediate family unit are going through is also being experienced by grandparents. With children often spending their time with one parent at a time after divorce, precious time with their grandparents can be squeezed, leaving everybody feeling like they are missing out.
It is not an uncommon situation that the extended family can be significantly wealthier than the couple who are separating. Sometimes, the parents of one spouse have provided assistance to the couple during their marriage and the other wants to argue that this is likely to continue to be the case …
What are my rights? This is the question most people caught up in family breakdown ask their solicitor. They are often quite frustrated at the answer!
Divorce can be bewildering for clients. Should they try and sort things out with their partner? Or should they go to mediation or would going to court likely mean a better result? This is a massive decision and the needs of each client can vary dramatically.
When making a gift to your adult son or daughter it is important to understand that, if their relationship were to subsequently break down, that gift can become the property of their Partner, whether they are married or not. How can such gifts be best protected?
There are various financial claims that can be brought by the parties under the umbrella of divorce proceedings, one of which is spousal maintenance. Where there is an ongoing entitlement to maintenance post divorce, the question arises should this be a joint lives order (i.e. until one of them dies) or should there be a cut-off point in the future? If so why and when?