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What Are Parents' Rights on Separation?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 13 Jan 2018 |
 
Separation Parent Rights Child

The break up of a relationship is always stressful and can leave one or both parents feeling lost, hurt and bewildered. When you separate from the other parent of your child or children, there are certain rights and responsibilities that you need to understand which will help you to make better decisions for yourself and your child.

Parental Responsibility

Mothers automatically have parental responsibility for their children. Fathers also have this right if they were married to the mother when the child was born. If you are an unmarried father, you will have parental responsibility if your name is registered on the child’s birth certificate. You can also get a court order to get parental responsibility of the child, which does not in principle require the consent of the mother. If you separate from your partner and child, you do not lose parental responsibility.

Financial Arrangements For Your Child

When you separate, you will both need to make decisions about the welfare and upbringing of your child. This includes where the child lives and with whom, how the parent who is not living with the child will have contact with the child, and how the child will be supported financially. If you cannot agree this amicably, you will probably need to go to court to have arrangements enforced. Other issues that separating parents should discuss are holidays, education, who has responsibility for taking a child to a doctor, and what would happen if one of you became too ill to care for the child.

It invariably costs more for parents to live apart than together and if financial arrangements are not made this can cause hardship for the child. No matter how angry you feel about what has happened in the break up of your relationship, you should always remember that your child’s needs must come first. If you are able to come to a financial arrangement between yourselves about your child (known as a ‘private agreement’) then that is often best, but it does mean that your arrangement is not legally binding. If payments are not made under a private agreement, the Child Support Agency cannot get involved and help you recover this money.

What If We Can’t Agree?

If you cannot agree payment arrangements amicably, you may decide to use the CSA or get the court to decide. Using the court is likely to cost money, because you will have to pay court fees and will probably need a solicitor. Going to court over child support payments is not covered by legal aid, but if you are already going to court to determine other issues you can decide child support matters at the same time.

You should also look at changing your will after separation, or if you don’t have one, you should definitely make one! If you don’t have a will, your assets will be dealt with under the laws of intestacy. If you do have a will that is out of date, and your ex partner was the main beneficiary, your assets will go to your ex partner on your death.

What About Our Home?

In terms of property, one partner may decide to leave the family home. This can be problematic if the parents aren’t married, especially if a new partner moves in with your ex before arrangements can be finalised. In these situations, it is very important that you speak to a solicitor without delay. If you and your ex partner are married, one person automatically receives the other’s estate on death – which you will want to avoid if you have separated.

You don’t always have to sell your home on separation. You may be able to agree who pays the mortgage, or get a court order as to that effect. One partner may be able to buy the other partner out of the property, or you could decide to sell it at some point in the future.

Do I Have To Go To Court?

Not all separations and divorces end up in court. Some people are content to use a separation agreement, or to enter mediation in order to come to an agreement about issues between you, your partner and your child. Mediation is often much less stressful than having to resort to court action, and can also be cheaper than litigation. That said, you will have to use the court if you decide you are going to divorce. There is no way around this.

Speak To A Solicitor

In short, if you can possibly keep negotiations amicable then this is best. Things do however have a tendency to deteriorate and you can find yourself very short of money, or without a home, or both, if you decide to leave. In these circumstances, you should always contact a solicitor.

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[Add a Comment]
Lonely dad - Your Question:
Hi, my wife walked out a few months ago, taking my 12 yo with her. Things have been rocky since then between me and my ex, which has caused problems with our son. She let's him decide what he wants to do so therefore I do not see him for a couple of weeks at a time, even though they are very close. I also feel because she's living with her sister there is a bad influence from them, even though my ex says they just say do what you want to him. I believe that doesn't help, as he will feel obliged to stay close to his mum. Because of the problem between my ex and me (mainly because of me having a mental breakdown) communication is hard and sometimes none. I want to see my son more often but what's the easiest way without court? Thank you

Our Response:
Anything that you cannot resolve between you and your ex directly/mutually, should be resolved through mediation, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Jan-18 @ 3:19 PM
Hi, my wife walked out a few months ago, taking my 12 yo with her. Things have been rocky since then between me and my ex, which has caused problems with our son. She let's him decide what he wants to do so therefore I do not see him for a couple of weeks at a time, even though they are very close. I also feel because she's living with her sister there is a bad influence from them, even though my ex says they just say do what you want to him. I believe that doesn't help, as he will feel obliged to stay close to his mum. Because of the problem between my ex and me (mainly because of me having a mental breakdown) communication is hard and sometimes none. I want to see my son more often but what's the easiest way without court? Thank you
Lonely dad - 13-Jan-18 @ 10:34 AM
Hello. Hope will find here some advice I am a mom of 6monyhs old baby, baby’s biological father never been involved in pregnancy time and since now. As we have difficult relationships- I have been reported to police his abusive behavior/ and like to revenge he wants to make a DNA and as he will be proven as father- he wants to make full custody of child and take him absolutely away from me. I am desperate and in schock- because do not know what to expect- I am desperate to loose my child. Please can you give some advice Many thanks
Desperate - 26-Dec-17 @ 9:53 PM
H - Your Question:
Me and my ex have been separated for a few years now and things were always quite easy to resolve and to organise between us both and we were very civil up until the last 6 months where it has been a nightmare. I want to change the days/times that my daughter goes to her dads house but I’m worried about the backlash. He always acts like he has a big chip on his shoulder and that he misses out. We changed the times etc so that he saw her a little bit more but I don’t feel as though it’s beneiftting her. She’s unsettled and is having accidents at bedtime and sometimes during the day, she’s been referred to a clinic because of this. Her dad has a new girlfriend and has bought a house with all all in the last few months and that has defiantly taken a role in her being unsettled and it’s just not fair on her. I would rather he only saw her every second weekend and that she stayed with me through the week for school etc, my job allows me to be there to drop and pick her up everyday. I’m there 24/7. I just don’t no if I have a leg to stand on and what to do now.

Our Response:
Obviously, if the other parent is your child's father, then it is likely he is going to be upset over any changes in the arrangement if it means seeing his child less. Therefore, your only option would be to suggest mediation as a way of trying to negotiate around this issue. If your ex disagrees with your suggestions, then he will have the option to take the matter to court. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Dec-17 @ 11:49 AM
Me and my ex have been separated for a few years now and things were always quite easy to resolve and to organise between us both and we were very civil up until the last 6 months where it has been a nightmare. I want to change the days/times that my daughter goes to her dads house but I’m worried about the backlash. He always acts like he has a big chip on his shoulder and that he misses out. We changed the times etc so that he saw her a little bit more but I don’t feel as though it’s beneiftting her. She’s unsettled and is having accidents at bedtime and sometimes during the day, she’s been referred to a clinic because of this. Her dad has a new girlfriend and has bought a house with all all in the last few months and that has defiantly taken a role in her being unsettled and it’s just not fair on her.I would rather he only saw her every second weekend and that she stayed with me through the week for school etc, my job allows me to be there to drop and pick her up everyday. I’m there 24/7. I just don’t no if I have a leg to stand on and what to do now.
H - 4-Dec-17 @ 8:40 PM
Me and my ex have been separated for a few years now and things were always quite easy to resolve and to organise between us both and we were very civil up until the last 6 months where it has been a nightmare. I want to change the days/times that my daughter goes to her dads house but I’m worried about the backlash. He always acts like he has a big chip on his shoulder and that he misses out. We changed the times etc so that he saw her a little bit more but I don’t feel as though it’s beneiftting her. She’s unsettled and is having accidents at bedtime and sometimes during the day, she’s been referred to a clinic because of this. Her dad has a new girlfriend and has bought a house with all all in the last few months and that has defiantly taken a role in her being unsettled and it’s just not fair on her.I would rather he only saw her every second weekend and that she stayed with me through the week for school etc, my job allows me to be there to drop and pick her up everyday. I’m there 24/7. I just don’t no if I have a leg to stand on and what to do now.
H - 4-Dec-17 @ 6:27 PM
sressed mom - Your Question:
I am a mother of 3 yrs old son his father and I got separated the past few month we were never marriednow that ive decided to end things with him he claims that he wants full custody of our son and the thing is that he want to take him to mozambique am afraid I might not see him ever again What should I do ??

Our Response:
Your ex must get the permission from you to take a child abroad, please see link here. If you refuse, then he would have to apply to court. Unless your ex is the day-to-day primary carer of yours/his child, then it is unlikely he would be given permission to take your child out of the country, unless you agree.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Dec-17 @ 11:50 AM
I am a mother of 3 yrs old son his father and i got separated the past few month we were never married now that ive decided to end things with him he claims that he wants full custody of our son and the thing is that he want totake him to mozambique am afraid i might not see him ever again What should i do ??
sressed mom - 3-Dec-17 @ 6:41 PM
Hello. Would like to ask for advice regards my situation, as I am desperate and in real fear to loose my baby. Situation is- I split with biological baby’s dad at 4/5 month of pregnancy- due to his abusive behavior, mostly emotional abusive, the same behavior continued for a while (when I was pregnant ) - abusive and negative, even threats to kill. I blocked him everywhere I could- because his behavior made me stressed. Then he started to send deadly threats to my present boyfriend (threats with weapons) and in last days of my pregnancy he send a threats to kill all my family.. During this time- he never asked about how is pregancy going. I had a extremely hard birth of my baby- my present partner was only one there for me, like all pregnancy time.... He is the best dad I could imagine.. I reported to police all ex- partner (baby’s natural dad abuse), he got catched now (baby is 5 months) and again is threatening me- that he will took away baby, he will request DNA and will put me in prison (I had been in police in past, but never been convicted- always been not guilty), he is saying to police fault statements regard my past police deals and threaten me- that because of that he will put me in prison, take away baby. He is lying to police that my friends are criminal, alkoholocs etc and he want save the baby from bad people... But all this time (when ai blocked him- he has NEVER asked a word Regards baby wellbeing, health etc) I am afraid that he can do it, take away m baby - he is criminal, dangerous person- where can I seek for legal advice and help and get ready to defense myself in court and keep rights for my baby.. Thank you
Desperate mom - 24-Nov-17 @ 3:30 PM
Hello. Would like to ask for advice regards my situation, as I am desperate and in real fear to loose my baby. Situation is- I split with biological baby’s dad at 4/5 month of pregnancy- due to his abusive behavior, mostly emotional abusive, the same behavior continued for a while (when I was pregnant ) - abusive and negative, even threats to kill. I blocked him everywhere I could- because his behavior made me stressed. Then he started to send deadly threats to my present boyfriend (threats with weapons) and in last days of my pregnancy he send a threats to kill all my family.. During this time- he never asked about how is pregancy going. I had a extremely hard birth of my baby- my present partner was only one there for me, like all pregnancy time.... He is the best dad I could imagine.. I reported to police all ex- partner (baby’s natural dad abuse), he got catched now (baby is 5 months) and again is threatening me- that he will took away baby, he will request DNA and will put me in prison (I had been in police in past, but never been convicted- always been not guilty), he is saying to police fault statements regard my past police deals and threaten me- that because of that he will put me in prison, take away baby. He is lying to police that my friends are criminal, alkoholocs etc and he want save the baby from bad people... But all this time (when ai blocked him- he has NEVER asked a word Regards baby wellbeing, health etc) I am afraid that he can do it, take away m baby - he is criminal, dangerous person- where can I seek for legal advice and help and get ready to defense myself in court and keep rights for my baby.. Thank you
Desperate mom - 24-Nov-17 @ 3:25 PM
Kelli - Your Question:
Good morning I am just looking for some advice really myself and the children dad separated 9 years ago and access was agreed and this happened every Friday night 3:15pm till 6 pm on a Saturday, however this changed and he started having the 2 boys Friday night and collected the 2 girls Saturday and would have all 4 till the sunday! He will also have them a week out of the 6 week holidays! However on Tuesday night he messaged me! Please see below“Kelli me and rachael need a child free wkend every other wkend since we have been together we only been out twice and really its toll out off us and putting a strain on are relationship isn't a lot to ask but we do need this and it is not that I don't want to see the kids just we need to arrange things that are best for both of us if you want to talk about this face to face that would be great” Rachel is his new partner of 7 months whom has 2 children of her own which my children dad has moved in with!!!My problem is he dropped the weekends down already to 3 weekends on and 1 off to spend time with his new partner, I did start a new job back in January that requires myself to work weekends which before taking checked with dad this was ok which his response was I have the kids anyway so makes no odds.My children are aged 15, 14, 11 and 12 the 12 year old does have autism and doesn’t do change he is quite structured. I don’t think I’m been unreasonable which contact as I don’t receive any money for the children from their father! What can I legally do or is there any responsibility to have the children, as you would understand my Autistic sons welfare is paramount and he emotionally will not handle the changes I have spoken to his school and they have said the same he attends a specialist inclusive centre school, can you advise me on what legally he has to have the children, on advise from the school I understand my Autistic child’s needs are more then the other 3 children’s as he is mentally 5.I am willing to write a contract that we both sign and agree too been 3 weekends on 1 off for him but shared holidays can you please point me or advise me what is correct.Kindest regardsKelli

Our Response:
If you cannot agree between you, then you would really need to suggest mediation to your ex in order to come to a compromise. However, a court will not force a non-resident parent to have their children, if and where they do not wish to have their children (court is usually the last resort option). Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the two parties in taking turns in the conversation, and helping you reach a decision that you are ready to agree with. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the two sides.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Oct-17 @ 12:01 PM
Good morning I am just looking for some advice really myself and the children dad separated 9 years ago and access was agreed and this happened every Friday night 3:15pm till 6 pm on a Saturday, however this changed and he started having the 2 boys Friday night and collected the 2 girls Saturday and would have all 4 till the sunday! He will also have them a week out of the 6 week holidays! However on Tuesday night he messaged me! Please see below “Kelli me and rachael need a child free wkend every other wkend since we have been together we only been out twice and really its toll out off us andputting a strain on are relationship isn't a lot to ask but we do need this and it is not that I don't want to see the kids just we need to arrange things that are best for both of us if you want to talk about this face to face that would be great” Rachel is his new partner of 7 months whom has 2 children of her own which my children dad has moved in with!!! My problem is he dropped the weekends down already to 3 weekends on and 1 off to spend time with his new partner, I did start a new job back in January that requires myself to work weekends which before taking checked with dad this was ok which his response was I have the kids anyway so makes no odds. My children are aged 15, 14, 11 and 12 the 12 year old does have autism and doesn’t do change he is quite structured. I don’t think I’m been unreasonable which contact as I don’t receive any money for the children from theirfather! What can I legally door is there any responsibility to have the children, as you would understand my Autistic sons welfare is paramount and he emotionally will not handle the changes I have spoken to his school and they have said the same he attends a specialist inclusive centre school, can you advise me on what legally he has to have the children, on advise from the school I understand my Autistic child’s needs are more then the other 3 children’s as he is mentally 5... I am willing to write a contract that we both sign and agree too been 3 weekends on 1 off for him but shared holidays can you please point me or advise me what is correct. Kindest regards Kelli
Kelli - 22-Oct-17 @ 9:31 AM
Ramy - Your Question:
HiI lived with my partner 2 years and one week ago I gave burt to my daughter butI would like to mention that my partner is no longer living with me at the same address and I remained single mother and sole support. What should I do pleaseI need to say that im a single mother

Our Response:
You can see what you need to do via the Citizens Advice Bureau link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Oct-17 @ 2:38 PM
Hi I lived with my partner 2 years and one week ago i gave burt to my daughter but I would like to mention that my partner is no longer living with me at the same address and I remained single mother and sole support. What should i do please I need to say that im a single mother
Ramy - 17-Oct-17 @ 10:55 PM
Kevin - Your Question:
Me and my ex partner were in a relationship for a year when we had our 7month old son. We both have our own homes but the childs lives with his mum. I only see my son when it suits her, she never calls me to let me know how my son is and most of the time when I get in contact with her to talk to the child she makes up excuses so I cant see him. I dont know what people are around my son and anytime I try to make arrangements every week and all I get is a load verbal abuse down the phone! She also wont allow my child to come to my house. My house is a nice tidy home and there no reason why I should suffer like this. Im scared if I go to court it could cause more trouble than good. I need help ASAP as it is making me very depressed and hurt that im missing out on being with my son when hes growing up and learning!

Our Response:
Before you are allowed to apply to court for access, you are required to attend or ask your ex if she will consider attending mediation in order to come to an agreement regarding access. Taking the matter to court can be very stressful and emotionally upsetting, especially if your ex decides to withdraw all access while the court case is pending. However, in some cases it is necessary in order to get regular access to see your child, or you end up living in a state of limbo. You may wish to seek legal advice in order to fully explore your options.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Oct-17 @ 11:07 AM
Me and my ex partner were in a relationship for a year when we had our 7month old son. We both have our own homes but the childs lives with his mum. I only see my son when it suits her, she never calls me to let me know how my son is and most of the time when i get in contact with her to talk to the child she makes up excuses so i cant see him. I dont know what people are around my son and anytime i try to make arrangements every week and all i get is a load verbal abuse down the phone! She also wont allow my child to come to my house. My house is a nice tidy home and there no reason why i should suffer like this. Im scared if i go to court it could cause more trouble than good. I need help ASAP as it is making me very depressed and hurt that im missing out on being with my son when hes growing up and learning!
Kevin - 10-Oct-17 @ 8:22 PM
Lee - Your Question:
I have been with my partner 5 years and have 2 young children together. We've recently split and he owns the house we live in. Would I have any rights to stay in this property? He's plan is to sell it in the fu ture.

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here which will highlight your options. You might also wish to seek some legal advice regarding this matter.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Aug-17 @ 12:08 PM
I have been with my partner 5 years and have 2 young children together. We've recently split and he owns the house we live in. Would I have any rights to stay in this property? He's plan is to sell it in the fu ture.
Lee - 7-Aug-17 @ 8:37 AM
Lou - Your Question:
Me and my ex partner (of 13years) we have a 4yr old. we went to court last year over child arrangements and basically he has never stuck to it and continuously uses work as an excuse for not having our son when he should not to mention his social life now! Me and my family bend over backwards to accommodate him when we shouldn't and it's so frustrating. not to mention the inconsistently of his parenting with our son who doesn't know from one week to the next when he will see his Dad, it's always left to me to let our son know daddy won't be picking him up etc. I work yet I have to work around our son I can't start work when they need me to but as a parent you have to work around it it just seems he can do what he wants yet the minute I was to breach the court order he'd have me dragged back to court. Luckily our son is still young and doesn't really ask where daddy is. He's always late, then turns up no explanation or anything, lies about working away and is very much on holiday, ditches his son on the days he's meant to have him to take other people away, he just expects me and my family to be there when he can't. He just doesn't think about our son or put him first! I want to know where I stand in terms of putting a stop to this and basically telling him what's gunna happen if he doesn't abide by the order! He also doesn't pay his child maintenance on time or at all, at the moment when he's in work and has a good job, he's been on 2 holidays this year and did not send a penny for his son it does go through child maintenenance but they seem to keep giving him chance after chance to pay so it's like no matter what he has a court order or child maintenance he doesn't abide by anything and does as he pleases! Any advice would be great.

Our Response:
The courts' guidance states that unless a breach is regular and intentional, they will not usually take action to enforce the order or punish the breach. Further it is important to consider the needs of your child first and so some flexibility may be needed on occasion. However, if your ex is consistently breaching the order, then you should note each time down each time he commits a breach, should you need this as evidence in court later on. As a rule, any changes to a contact order must be agreed by both parties. One party cannot unilaterally decide to change the order or apply additional terms. If they wish to do so, they will need to refer the matter back to the courts. If your ex is flouting this, then he is breaching the order. A solicitor's letter reminding your ex of the terms of the order and what your actions will be if he does not keep to the terms may do the trick
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Jul-17 @ 11:17 AM
Me and my ex partner (of 13years) we have a 4yr old.we went to court last year over child arrangements and basically he has never stuck to it and continuously uses work as an excuse for not having our son when he should not to mention his social life now!Me and my family bend over backwards to accommodate him when we shouldn't and it's so frustrating.... not to mention the inconsistently of his parenting with our son who doesn't know from one week to the next when he will see his Dad, it's always left to me to let our son know daddy won't be picking him up etc.I work yet I have to work around our son I can't start work when they need me to but as a parent you have to work around it it just seems he can do what he wants yet the minute I was to breach the court order he'd have me dragged back to court.Luckily our son is still young and doesn't really ask where daddy is.He's always late, then turns up no explanation or anything, lies about working away and is very much on holiday, ditches his son on the days he's meant to have him to take other people away, he just expects me and my family to be there when he can't.He just doesn't think about our son or put him first! I want to know where I stand in terms of putting a stop to this and basically telling him what's gunna happen if he doesn't abide by the order!He also doesn't pay his child maintenance on time or at all, at the moment when he's in work and has a good job, he's been on 2 holidays this year and did not send a penny for his son it does go through child maintenenance but they seem to keep giving him chance after chance to pay so it's like no matter what he has a court order or child maintenance he doesn't abide by anything and does as he pleases! Any advice would be great.
Lou - 25-Jul-17 @ 2:42 PM
Hi I'm married and on 10 years route to get British passport n my three year old gilt is British if I want separation cos there are so much problems in life don't need this hell life what's are mymother right towards my British child but I have no job and house can I my baby with me ? What could I do?
Rita - 20-Jul-17 @ 12:08 AM
@Louise - if the matter has to go to court generally it's the primary carer who is given preference with regards to accommodation as it is seen as being in the best interest of the child to have a roof over their head. However, if you separate you cannot expect your ex to continue to pay the rent unless agreed. If your partner has parental responsibility of your child, then he can legally take the child and the police cannot intervene, this is the remit of the courts. As in all separations, it is always best if parents can agree between themselves.
Ol&* - 4-Jul-17 @ 3:44 PM
Hi. I've been with my partner 4.5 years. We are not married, live together and have a 2 year old. I am planning a separation. I am the primary carer of our child who is currently under assessment for autism. We have a joint tenancy agreement. In the event of separation, who would be required to move out? He pays the rent but I'm the primary carer for the child. Also, can he legally take the child? He has threatened to before, but I know he wouldn't cope and it's not in the interests of the child.
Louise - 20-Jun-17 @ 7:19 PM
Brian - Your Question:
I have been with my partner for 7 years she has 2 girls ages 12 and 9 we have 4 year old twins ( my name on birth certificate). She wants a separation I understand the girls will want to be with her but I dont think she can cope with all 4 of them and want the boys with me. What are my rights

Our Response:
You would have to either broach this to your partner directly, suggest mediation, or if she refuses to attend mediation, take the matter to court. Much depends upon who is the current primary carer of your children (i.e who takes most responsibility in thier day-to-day care). The person who is primary carer is the person who usually continues the role, unless agreed otherwise.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Jun-17 @ 3:49 PM
I have been with my partner for 7 years she has 2 girls ages 12 and 9 we have 4 year old twins ( my name on birth certificate). She wants a separation I understand the girls will want to be with her but I dont think she can cope with all 4 of them and want the boys with me. What are my rights
Brian - 9-Jun-17 @ 2:49 PM
Fed up- Your Question:
I am currently in a relationship with a partner of a few years. We have a 2 year old. We are currently living with parents due to financial issues. I want to leave him and move area, somewhere cheaper. I want him to have shared responsibility but it will be more difficult when we move. Can he stop me from moving ?

Our Response:
If your partner has parental responsibility then you will have to request his consent to move out of the area. If he declines, then you would have to apply through the courts and the courts will decide upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-May-17 @ 12:12 PM
I am currently in a relationship with a partner of a few years. We have a 2 year old. We are currently living with parents due to financial issues. I want to leave him and move area, somewhere cheaper. I want him to have shared responsibility but it will be more difficult when we move. Can he stop me from moving ?
Fed up - 10-May-17 @ 5:57 PM
John From London - Your Question:
Hi, my girlfriend has been living with me for 5 years but we have had doubts for some time about loving each other enough to commit. During this time she has had two miscarriages and each time we dicussed whether to keep the baby: her response was always to keep the baby if it survived; whereas my preference was termination. She is now pregnant for a third time and the issue has arisen again. She understands our different wishes regarding the baby but is still adamant she wants to keep it. She has offered to move out and never ask for assistance. She is a doctor with a good salary whereas I am self employed with an insecure and lower income but I own the house 100% to which she has contributed 0%. My question is how we execute her suggestion? Do we agree a private contract agreeing to the terms she suggests? What if we separate but later she changes her mind, for example by deciding to pursue me for a lump sum as a housing deposit? Can she enforce a change of mind despite agreeing to something else at an earlier stage? If the terms can be changed at a whim then I would rather make a go of it and raise the child together and not split up. I will very much appreciate some advice on this matter. Many thanks, John

Our Response:
Whatever you do from here on in, there is no definitive answer as it is a situation of variables and constantly changing ones at that. In the first instance, agreeing the terms via mutual agreement is the best way forward. However, whatever you agree via mediation of through a solicitor can be subject to change, if and where circumstances change. For instance, if your partner decides to 'move out and never ask for assistance', what happens if she finds parenting is limiting her earning capabilities? If you are the father of the child, you are bound by law to pay maintenance to support your child's day-to-day needs. So as idealistic as this may seem currently, if your partner becomes the primary carer, but needs to take time of work for a period, or has to pay for childcare in order to go back to work, then it is likely she will want financial help and therefore she can apply at any time via CMS. If you stay together in your home, then she will have more of a claim on your home than if she moved out. If you separated when living in your home and she did not wish to move, the courts will always decide upon what is in the child's best interests and could rule to allow your partner to live in your home until your child finishes full-time education (regardless of what your partner has previously contributed). I firmly suggest you take some independent legal advice to assess the pitfalls (if they are your concern), as there are a few. It takes two people to make a baby, contraception is available for both. If you personally do not wish to have a child, then you have been playing Russian roulette and so are partly responsible. Many decisions prior to a child being born are very much 'idealistic' however, these can soon change when practicalities hit home. There is no correct advice, the best you can hope for is that regardless of what happens in your relationship, you both stay amicable and aim to raise your child together whether living together or apart. Financially you can not aim to come out of it unscathed. It is very rare that either parent; mother or father do.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-May-17 @ 1:59 PM
Hi, my girlfriend has been living with me for 5 years but we have had doubts for some time about loving each other enough to commit.During this time she has had two miscarriages and each time we dicussed whether to keep the baby:her response was always to keep the baby if it survived; whereas my preference was termination.She is now pregnant for a third time and the issue has arisen again. She understands our different wishes regarding the baby but is still adamant she wants to keep it.She has offered to move out and never ask for assistance.She is a doctor with a good salary whereas I am self employed with an insecure and lower income but I own the house 100% to which she has contributed 0%.My question is how we execute her suggestion?Do we agree a private contract agreeing to the terms she suggests?What if we separate but later she changes her mind, for example by deciding to pursue me for a lump sum as a housing deposit?Can she enforce a change of mind despite agreeing to something else at an earlier stage?If the terms can be changed at a whim then I would rather make a go of it and raise the child together and not split up.I will very much appreciate some advice on this matter.Many thanks, John
John From London - 3-May-17 @ 7:59 PM
Jleighc - Your Question:
Me and my partner have just seperated after 6 years. We arnt married and have a mortgage aswell as a 18 month old. She has taken my keys off of me and she will only let me have my child one a week. She wont sell the house and expects me to pay the mortgage still on top of child maintanance which I agreed to pay £75 a week. It should have been such a simple seperation as things just wernt working and now she wants everything and blackmailing me to see my child. I know I will need a solicitor but just wanted some quick advice. Thank you.

Our Response:
A court would not force you to sell the house as it will always decide upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your child and that is having a permanent roof over your child's head. However, some financial and access agreement needs to be made and therefore if you can't resolve the matter between you both, mediation is the next step. You also may wish to seek some legal advice regarding this. If your ex continues to withhold access, then you may have to consider taking the matter to court. A judge will not condone holding a child to ransom with regards to financial issues.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Apr-17 @ 2:32 PM
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