Separated Families At Xmas – How Did Your Child Arrangements Go?

  • Did your children see their other parent over the Christmas holidays?
  • How about their other parent’s extended family – grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins?

Last week I talked about the difficulties separated families face making arrangements for children at Christmas.

How Did It Go For You?

With Christmas behind us, we would love to hear how it went for your family. Did your arrangements for the children work out? Or did they fall flat on their face? Or perhaps it wasn’t possible to make any arrangements at all.

Let Us Know Your Story

Scroll down to the Comment Section below and tell us how it went for you.

 

Contact Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice about making arrangements for your children with their other parent. In this 20 minute session we will:

  • Review the current arrangements and how they’re working
  • Consider with you what arrangements would be in the children’s best interests
  • Recommend how you can reach an agreement with their other parent, for example by mediationnegotiation or collaborative law

 

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions.

We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families.

Visit our website just-family-law.com

The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

image: Children Reading The Grinch by Sandstein on Wikimedia Commons 

 

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Separated Families At Christmas – How to Arrange The Perfect Christmas For Your Children

Imagine one of those Christmas ads. Children flying through snowy clouds, skating across ice, sharing bedtime secrets with a benevolent monster. I think you know the sort of thing I mean.

And the final scene - the delighted children opening their presents around the Christmas tree ...

The Perfect Christmas

What I would like to do is ask these children, let’s call them Emma and Ethan, if they’re having a great Christmas. That’s if I can attract their attention away from the presents.

First of all, Ethan.

Ethan, are you having a great Christmas?”

He doesn’t look up. He’s tearing Christmas paper from a large present.

Where are the batteries?” he says.

Don’t Forget The Batteries!

Yes, fair question. Where are the batteries? There’s a chance the shops are still open. Buy some batteries so this doesn’t happen to you.

Now let’s try Emma. She’s a bit older, and is carefully examining her smart phone. Maybe she’s checking to see if her favourite game app has downloaded.

Emma, are you having a great Christmas?”

I haven’t seen my Daddy,” she says.

She looks up briefly. Her eyes are sad ...

Turn your focus away from the Christmas tree (an enormous Norway spruce covered with flickering lights) and notice the children’s mother, Ashleigh. She’s sitting on the sofa by herself and doesn’t look too happy either. This is because her ex, Matt, has sent her an angry text.

Matt immediately regretted sending it. But right now he’s justifying himself to his parents who are sitting around an artificial Christmas tree that’s been mended with tape. It’s the same old tree that gets dragged out every Christmas. They couldn’t be bothered to get a new one, what with not seeing the grandchildren, yet again.

But why does it have to be like this? Can we have a happy ending, please? The sort of happy ending where the children see both their parents at Christmas, and both their sets of grandparents? Yes, of course.

Let’s time travel back a few weeks

Here again is the sitting room, the children playing on the floor, and Ashleigh sitting on the sofa. It’s just an ordinary day.

But Ashleigh is looking intently at her phone. She’s been texting with Matt.

They have agreed that come what may they will put their personal feelings aside and do what’s right for Emma and Ethan.

They have acknowledged they must work together. That they must put their children first.

Separated Families At Christmas – What Arrangements Can Be Made For The Perfect Christmas?

Ashleigh and Matt have agreed they will take it in turns each Christmas. This year Emma and Ethan will be with Matt on Christmas Eve and with Ashleigh on Christmas Day. Her parents will be coming over, too. There will be a happy house full.

Let’s reimagine the perfect Christmas ad …

It starts on Christmas Eve. The children’s faces glow with happiness as they tear open their presents around a brand new and splendid tree. Matt and his parents sit on the sofa, smiling and laughing.

Now the ad moves to Christmas Day. The children’s faces glow with happiness as they tear open their presents around an enormous Norway spruce. Ashleigh and her parents sit on the sofa, smiling and laughing.

… and  let’s ask the children if they are having a great Christmas …

Ethan doesn’t look up, he’s too busy fitting the batteries into a strange, eye rolling monster. Now ask Emma. “Yes,” she says, excitedly, “We went to Daddy’s and he gave me a new smart phone.” She checks to make sure her favourite game app has downloaded.

… and please don’t forget to agree the presents

Ashleigh and Matt agreed a Christmas present list for the children, and who was going to give them which present. This means the children didn’t receive duplications, and neither parent felt the need to compete with the other. Presents can be another bone of contention for separated families at Christmas.

The children give Ashleigh the present Matt helped them buy for her. Fluffy reindeer slippers with huge antlers. She loves them!

Heart warming - the long awaited and eagerly anticipated perfect family Christmas. Merry Christmas to all!

 

Contact Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice about making arrangements for your children with their other parent. In this 20 minute session we will:

  • Review the current arrangements and how they’re working
  • Consider with you what arrangements would be in the children’s best interests
  • Recommend how you can reach an agreement with their other parent, for example by mediation, negotiation or collaborative law

 

* Scroll down to sign up for Emails from our expert Solicitors to keep up to date with these important issues *

 

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions.

We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families.

Visit our website just-family-law.com

The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

image: Bittersweet – The Ups And Downs Of Military Life by Airman 1st Class Jessica Evans on Wikimedia Commons

 

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“Common Law Property Rights?” 6 Things You Must Include In A Cohabitation Agreement

 

Ever wondered about Common Law Property Rights?

If you are moving in together you will be busy unpacking boxes and finding a home for everything. Or maybe you’ve been living together for a while and everything’s rosy.

But did you know there’s no such thing as common law marriage? And you don’t have the same rights as a married couple? This may come as a shock to you but don’t worry, there’s something you can do about it. If you’re still not convinced, see my blog 6 reasons why you need a cohabitation agreement

If you want an equal and sharing relationship with your partner, but you also want to protect your property from a claim should you split up, consult an expert family law solicitor.

Here are six things you will need to think about for your Cohabitation Agreement.

1. Property you owned before you moved in together

Couples often agree it will remain separate. They can also agree their partner can’t make a claim over it.

For example, you own your own home and your partner moves in. What if your partner makes payments on the mortgage? Or does work on the property? This could give them a claim over it. If this is not what you want, you really do need to be explicit about it.

2. Property you acquire after you move in together

The question is, do you buy it as joint tenants or as tenants in common? What do these terms mean and how can you protect yourself? See my blog Shall I buy a house with my partner for a quick and clear explanation.

But if the property is in the sole name of one of you, you need to address the issues raised in paragraph 1 above.

3. Household expenses

What if you don’t own your home jointly? Or if one of you earns more than the other?

Maybe you will agree unequal contributions. Maybe your partner will agree to contribute to the mortgage and acknowledge this will give them no claim over the property.

4. Inheritance and Wills

Did you know unmarried couples don’t automatically inherit each other’s estates if they die?

Life assurance can be important for the survivor. But if you do want to leave your estates to each other make sure you both have a will and you keep it up to date. See my recent blog, Do I need a will? Here’s one very good reason.

5. Children

If you have children already, you can provide for co-parenting if you split.

You can think about where the children will live and who will pay child maintenance and how much – see my blog What are your child maintenance options. You might want to consider the ownership of your home. After all, the children will need a roof over their heads.

You can also agree payments to the parent with whom the children will live if their earning capacity is likely to be reduced as a result.

6. Independent Legal Advice

Both of you will need to take independent legal advice. This means you will have no doubt about what you are agreeing, and it will make your agreement binding. And if your relationship ends, the Court is more likely to take notice of your agreement and put it into effect.

But please remember a Cohabitation Agreement must be revisited as your relationship evolves:

  • If children arrive
  • If your financial situation changes radically
  • There could be health problems, inheritances and issues concerning aging and elder care.

Cohabitation Agreements

Contact Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on cohabitation agreements. In this 20 minute session we will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

image Man and woman silhouettes by Fred Bchx on Wikimedia Commons

 

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6 Reasons Why You Need A Cohabitation Agreement

  1. Did you know there’s no such thing as Common Law marriage? In addition, did you know cohabitees don’t have the same rights as married couples? A Cohabitation Agreement can protect you and your property. It can also set out what will happen in the event of your separation, or death. The Court is likely to be guided by your Cohabitation Agreement if there’s a dispute.

A Cohabitation Agreement Can Protect You And Your Property 

  1. If your relationship ends you can literally find yourself out in the cold. This is because unless you are the owner, or joint owner, of your shared home you have no automatic legal right to it. You may have sunk a lot of money into its purchase. Or perhaps you have paid for improvements. But if your name is not on the title you could come away with nothing.
  1. In the Cohabitation Agreement you can agree how you own property. This may be in equal or unequal shares, or you may agree to keep your property separate.

A Cohabitation Agreement Can Protect You And Your Property  On Death

  1. What happens if your cohabitee dies and there’s no Will? Their estate is distributed under the intestacy rules. But these rules do not mention a surviving cohabitee. So in other words you could be left with nothing. But don’t worry, you can agree what will happen to your property after death in your Cohabitation Agreement. In addition, it’s vital to make Wills and regularly review them.
  1. Furthermore you need to make sure you know your entitlement to your partner’s pension. A surviving cohabitee might be entitled to benefits under a late partner’s pension scheme. But this is not guaranteed. You might need to agree to nominate each other in respect of death in service payments.

Regularly Review Your Cohabitation Agreement

  1. A Cohabitation Agreement can address many of these concerns, and more. It can also cover household bills, debts, businesses. But if there is a change in circumstances such as the arrival of children please make sure you review your Cohabitation Agreement with your solicitor.

Find out more about how Cohabitation Agreements can protect you and your property. Phone Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for a free 20 minute consultation.

* Scroll down to sign up for Emails from our expert Solicitors to keep up to date with these important issues *

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions.

We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families.

Visit our website just-family-law.com

The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

image Hanna and Ole Nydahl on Wikimedia

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