Issues you may need advice on are:-

Your child’s name.  Sometimes it is the case that the parents are not married and have different surnames. Your child will be given either the surname of one parent or a double-barrelled name of both parents. There can be an issue about the child’s name if there are other children in the family with different parents eg the same mother but different fathers and the children have their respective father’s name.  We can advise both parents on how the law deals with such a situation if one parent wants to change the child’s surname.

Parental responsibility.  It is a huge responsibility to bring up a child and this responsibility falls on both parents, not just the parent the child lives with if the parents are separated. There is a continuing responsibility to decide on appropriate medical treatment, the child’s religion and which school the child should go to. We can advise parents on the issues that arise in the event of a disagreement between them.

Financial support.  It costs a lot of money to bring up a child!  Both parents should be contributing to that expense, even if they do not live with the child.  Hopefully, the parents can agree that the parent who lives separately will provide an amount of money each week or month to help pay for all those expenses. We can advise both parents on how to organise their finances including an application to the Child Maintenance Service if necessary.

Who the child lives with and who the child spends time with. If the parents do not live together, the child can only realistically live with one of you. There can be a shared care arrangement where the child spends an equal amount of time with both parents which is great and always good for the child to see the parents getting on an making arrangements in the child’s best interests.  Sometimes, parents can’t agree, either because they don’t get on or even because they both love the child so much, they can’t bear sharing the care.  We can advise on how to deal with those issues and how a court would deal with a dispute if the parents find it impossible to reach an agreement.  It is important for a child to spend time with both sides of the family including grandparents, aunts and uncles and so whichever parent the child lives with, arrangements need to be made for the child to spend time with the other one. Again, we can advise on how to deal with those arrangements and how a court would deal with them in the absence of an agreement.

Making a Will.  Sadly, sometimes a parent dies before their child has grown up. You can make a Will appointing a guardian to care for your child if this should happen. This will not always be upheld if the parents are separated as it is usually the case that the child would go to live with the other parent but we can advise you according to your specific situation. Your Will would also set out what happens to your money and property and you can make provision for your child to be financially cared for in the event of your death. We have a department here at QualitySolicitors Yates and Co who can help you make your Will.

The above is a general guide to the services we cover relating to children. Gail Cook and Paula Sanders are our specialist family lawyers here at QualitySolicitors Yates and Co and we are available to assist you with any issues you may have. We offer free telephone advice and if we are not able to cover all your problems in one phone call, we also offer a detailed face to face meeting for £99 including VAT.