Avoid the chaos of a co­hab­it­ing split

Cheshire Life - - Family Life -

When un­mar­ried par­ents sep­a­rate, things can get com­pli­cated for ev­ery­one - fam­ily law ex­pert, Pa­tri­cia Robinson, ad­vises on how to make it a lit­tle less messy

Un­mar­ried par­ents are not al­ways aware of what rights, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and obli­ga­tions they each have to one another and their chil­dren.

The mis­con­cep­tion of the “com­mon-law spouse” is still preva­lent, de­spite many fam­ily lawyers’ at­tempts to raise pub­lic aware­ness on this is­sue over the last decade. Un­mar­ried cou­ples, when sep­a­rat­ing, may find they are left in a very vul­ner­a­ble fi­nan­cial po­si­tion.

Where pos­si­ble, par­ents should try to agree be­tween them what is the most ap­pro­pri­ate day-to-day ar­range­ment for their chil­dren. Some fam­i­lies, when the par­ents start liv­ing sep­a­rately, fo­cus on shar­ing week­ends and hol­i­days with a base with one par­ent dur­ing the week. Other par­ents al­ter­nate care on a weekly ba­sis. There is no one pat­tern that fits all as it is about work­ing out an ar­range­ment that is child-fo­cused and works well for your fam­ily. If an agree­ment cannot be reached

then do not un­der­es­ti­mate the help of a spe­cial­ist fam­ily solic­i­tor who is ex­pe­ri­enced in reach­ing res­o­lu­tions in these cir­cum­stances. The court process is also avail­able but should be seen as a last re­sort.

Al­though fi­nan­cial claims be­tween sep­a­rat­ing co­hab­i­tants are ex­tremely lim­ited in con­trast to those of mar­ried cou­ples, where there are chil­dren there are fi­nan­cial obli­ga­tions on the part of the par­ents. Child main­te­nance is the most ob­vi­ous of these but in cer­tain cir­cum­stances, par­tic­u­larly where one par­ent is wealthy, their fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties can ex­tend beyond this. If the pay­ing par­ent has an income above £3,000 gross per week, this would open the gate­way to top-up child main­te­nance through the courts.

Also, if the pay­ing par­ent has sig­nif­i­cant wealth, it may be ap­pro­pri­ate for them to pro­vide a home for both the child and the other par­ent to live in until the child has reached adult­hood. Al­though not an ex­haus­tive list, they can also be re­quired to make lump sum pay­ments to­wards fur­nish­ing the property, a car, the child’s ed­u­ca­tion and hol­i­days.

Whether you’re the pay­ing par­ent or the one re­ceiv­ing on a child’s be­half, it is imperative that you ob­tain le­gal ad­vice so you are fully aware of the ex­tent of your claims and/or re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Pa­tri­cia Robinson From Slater Heelis

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.