Would you like to see your children at Christmas?

If you have separated from your partner this year then this may well be the first Christmas that you will not be living with your children. If so, have you made arrangements with your ex-partner so that you can both spend a reasonable amount of time with the children at Christmas?

Emmersons Solicitors Family Law Department is often inundated with parents contacting us during December when arrangements for them to see their children have just gone wrong. Some of our client’s, having found themselves in this position for the first time, simply had not realised that there may be problems.

It is essential that you address the issue of Christmas contact now. As you can imagine, the courts become rather full the nearer it gets to Christmas. Many law firms are closed from the third week in December for nearly two weeks. Therefore everyone wants their case heard earlier in the month.

You should raise the issue of Christmas contact with your ex-partner as soon as possible. Try to arrange something that suits not just the two of you but also your children. Very young children may wish to wake up in their own bed on Christmas morning. Many of our clients arrange contact so that the children spend Christmas Eve at one house and then move to their other parent’s home later on Christmas Day. They then stay with that parent on Christmas night.

However, if you are thinking of doing this, please think about when your children will eat their meal. One year a friend of mine had to eat two meals. The next year it was worse, one side of the family was supposed to eat at 2pm. By the time my friend had to visit her other parent at 5pm the first meal was still not ready. Upon arrival at the second house it was tough luck as they had already eaten. Needless to say by the time the third Christmas came around the “child” had reached eighteen and refused to spend time with any of her family.

So How Can Emmersons Solicitors Help You to See Your Children At Christmas?

In the first instance you should discuss the issue with your ex partner as soon as possible. If you cannot reach agreement, or if you are told you will have to wait for a decision for any longer than a couple of days, then seek help immediately. If you come to see us we can immediately write to your ex-partner. We can invite them to our office with their solicitor. The idea would be to sit down together to try and put something in place for this Christmas, for the school holidays and for you to have extended time with your children during the long Summer break.

If agreement cannot be reached in good time then we would discuss with you the of issuing court proceedings. This is to be used as a last resort. However, courts will often grant half of all holidays to each parent. If your ex-partner is aware of this then they may be far more willing to negotiate.

If you need help to see your children at Christmas then contact us on 0191 567 6667 (Sunderland) or 0191 284 6989 (Newcastle).Read More »

So who does own our love nest?

As Emmersons Solicitors deals with property law and family law we have cases that crop up that often cover both areas. People often assume that as they put money into a house they must own it, others assume just because they live in a house that they must have a legal interest in it. Two recent cases highlight the complexity.
In the first case David and Billy had bought a house together. However, they were short of money for their deposit so Billy’s father gave them a lump sum to help with the purchase. The couple were about to split up and the question arose as to how much money each of them was entitled to from the sale of the house. Billy said that his father would need his money back first. What we needed to consider was whether or not Billy’s father had an interest in the property, had he meant to loan the couple the money or was it a gift to the two of them? Was he on the title deeds as being an owner, was his share of the property specified in a trust deed? Neither Billy nor David had a clue, and this is often the case.
If your parents are giving you money as a deposit for a house all of the above should be considered. If a dispute arises over the issue then ultimately, in this case, Billy’s father would have to become a third party in court proceedings. The cost of the proceedings in many cases could be more than the money given/loaned in the first instance.
If money is to be repaid then a trust deed should be set up showing this and the fact should be registered at the Land Registry as part of the initial Conveyancing process.
However, the solicitor helping the purchasers would need to be made aware of this at the time. This would protect the parent making the loan, especially if one of the parties died before the money was repaid or was declared bankrupt.
This leads me on to the next case. John and Sally, who had both been married before, were going to buy a house together using the proceeds of sale from their previous properties. However, John’s house didn’t sell fast enough and so Sally bought the house in her name only. Later when John’s house was sold he put all of his sale proceeds into the new house. However, he discovered that it was going to cost about £500.00 to have his name added onto the title deeds. He thought this was expensive and so left matters. Fast forward ten years and Sally was declared bankrupt. The Trustee in Bankruptcy declared an interest in the whole property. John was left with legal fees of well over £500.00 to persuade the Trustee that he had a 50% interest in the property. Fortunately for him he was able to provide an audit trail showing that he had used his money to reduce the mortgage and so could prove an interest in the property.
If you think that the legal ownership of your home needs to be reconsidered then don’t wait ten years, seek help now.