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When’s the right time to move on?

When faced with the prospect of becoming a step family, there are a lot of emotions. But what steps should you put in place to ensure that both your children and your partner (and their children) are legally protected and looked after in the future.

Watching the documentary, Rio and Kate: Becoming a Stepfamily had me in tears due to the recorded counselling sessions held at Child Bereavement UK.Credit: BBC

If you are not familiar with the documentary, it was about the footballer, Rio Ferdinand who tragically lost his wife Rebecca Ellison to Breast Cancer when she was aged 34. She left behind her husband and three young children. The BBC One Documentary was interesting as critics have said that he has moved on ‘too soon’ as his wife Rebecca died 4 years before his marriage to Kate Wright. But when is the right time to move on? In truth, I don't believe there is ever a ‘right time.’

When faced with the prospect of being a step family, there are a lot of emotions, even more so when there has been a bereavement. It is clear from the documentary that Kate experienced different trials and tribulations from what Rio was experiencing, and sometimes acting in the best interests of the children conflicted with Kate’s desire to blend into the family.

So what are my views on the legal aspects?

There is no ‘right time’ for Rio to say ‘Hey Kate, I’ve booked an appointment at Amphlett Lissimore Solicitors to discuss step-parent responsibility and a review of our Wills,’ but the reality is these matters need to be considered.

When reviewing your Wills, or in fact making one for the first time, you may not have all of the answers. You will have views and opinions on how you would like to divide your estate, and we, as your lawyers, can advise and guide you and your family and put your wishes into place, whilst always considering the needs of the children and of the step-parent.

Having parental responsibility allows a step parent to be legally involved in the child’s upbringing. This includes having a say in medical treatment, education and religion. If you would like to discuss or obtain Parental responsibility as a Step-Parent, my colleague Carole Hack, is on hand to assist with this.

We are happy to conduct an initial meeting with both parents so that you can discuss your views openly and in some (rare) cases, we may consider that the parties obtain independent advice.

Although it is never the right time, once the legal aspects are out of the way, you can concentrate on how to become closer as a family without worrying about future milestones and what would happen legally.

If you would like to discuss reviewing your Will or drafting a parental responsibility order, please don’t hesitate to call us on 020 8771 5254. We can help and also offer a free initial assessment of your legal matter over the phone.


Image Credit: BBC.

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