Issues surrounding children can be complex and emotionally charged at times, and understanding the relationship between the law and your own situation can often be difficult.
One caller to the show sought advice because her estranged husband wants to take her three children to see his family – something they don’t want to do and haven’t done before. An issue concerning contact, I suggested three options: undertaking mediation, working with charity Relate to arrive at an agreement, or applying for a contact order (further information is available on the DirectGov website).
Another interesting call to the show concerned parental responsibility. The caller in question has three children with her ex-husband and has subsequently remarried. She now wants their step father to have parental responsibility for them, in instances such as medical emergencies. I advised that she should ask her former husband whether he would sign a Step Parent Agreement, giving her new husband parental rights over the children. If he isn’t amenable then she could go to court and apply for a Step Parent Responsibility Order under Section 4A of the Children’s Act 1989. Again, further information about parental responsibility is available on the DirectGov website.
We also touched upon changes to the Child Support Agency (CSA) in relation to another question. From this month child maintenance will be calculated as percentage of gross income for the first time. The CSA will also begin liaising with the Inland Revenue to uncover an accurate impression of earnings, something that is often difficult to obtain if a parent is self-employed. If you require more information on child maintenance visit the Child Maintenance Options website.
As always there were plenty of people calling into the show, and I wasn’t able to address everyone’s questions. If you have a question, you are welcome to contact me or to leave a comment below and I will endeavour to answer as many as possible.