Starting and Raising a Family

Every family is different, so we take the time to understand what will work for yours. Our experts help families from conception through to ensuring that they have adequate financial provision whilst their children are at university, and in the event of their parents’ death.

We can help with:

  • Making arrangements for children i.e. who they live with and who they spend time with
  • Arrangements for children in the event of their parents’ death
  • Adoption
  • Surrogacy and assisted reproduction
  • Relocation with children (in the UK and internationally)
  • Decisions in relation to children e.g. which school they attend
  • Ensuring financial security for children in the event of their parents’ death
  • Flexible working arrangements
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Frequently Asked Questions

If you are the only person with parental responsibility for the child, it is possible, and sensible, to appoint whom you would like to take care of your child in the event of your death as a guardian in your will (see Parental responsibility - who can make decisions about my children?). The appointment of a guardian in your will is not conclusive, but it would be a very strong starting point for the court to determine whom should take care of a child.

Where more than one person has parental responsibility, you can only make a valid guardianship appointment if you have a court order which states that the child should live with you.

If you do not have such a court order, you can still set out your wishes and reasons in your will, but it will be more open to challenge.

If you think that the surviving person with parental responsibility (usually the other parent) would not be suitable to care for the child, you should set out why you believe that to be the case in your will. There is no legal presumption that a child should live with a biological parent after the death of the other parent.

It is understandably very difficult to contemplate that another person may need to raise your child if you die, and deciding who is best to fulfil that role can be a tough decision. Here are some hints to help you:

• Think about whom your child already spends time with and has a good relationship with. Your child will be going through a turbulent time if you die, and so it is important that they are comfortable with their main caregiver.
• If you have more than one child, consider whom would be able to accommodate them, so that they can stay together.
• If you have one child, consider whether they would benefit from living with a family that already has a child, or if they it would be beneficial to them if no other child lived in the household. This will depend on the individual child.
• It will be very difficult to ask your child where they would want to live if you died. This conversation may be possible with an older child but care must be taken. For younger children, you could try to discuss with them who they would be comfortable with if for example you were to go on holiday without them.
• Try to maintain stability for your child by keeping them in the local area and able to attend the same school. This may not be possible.
• Speak to the person that you wish to appoint as your child’s guardian. They may not feel comfortable or happy with the appointment, or they may have questions or concerns that they want to discuss.
• Consider whether the person that you wish to appoint has the same parenting and other values as you, and if they do not, consider if you would be happy with your child being raised differently to how you would do so.
• Think about writing a letter to your child explaining the reasons for your choice, which can be given to them should you die.
• Try to make your intentions known and discuss what you would wish to happen in the event of your death with all relevant people. This can help to avoid a situation where loved ones are in conflict with each other, perhaps each believing that they are doing what you would have wanted to happen.
• Make sure that the guardian is financially supported to look after your child (see How can I make sure that my children are financially secure if I die?).
Yes, your employer can dismiss you when you are pregnant as long as they can show there is a fair reason and it is not connected with your pregnancy. Your employer must also follow a fair process when seeking to dismiss you.

For example, there are circumstances when you can be dismissed during pregnancy such as redundancy, if your role is no longer required, or misconduct or poor performance. However, your employer will be expected to have carried out the correct redundancy or disciplinary process.

If you can show that the main or only reason your employer dismissed you was because you were pregnant or on maternity leave, or for any other reason connected with your pregnancy, then your dismissal will be automatically unfair and you will be able to claim pregnancy and sex discrimination.

If you make a claim in the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination during pregnancy, it is then up to your employer to prove that your dismissal was for a fair reason and not because of your pregnancy.

You are also entitled to written reasons if you’re dismissed at any time during your pregnancy.

If you think you have been subjected to pregnancy discrimination you should try to resolve the matter informally at first by raising it with your employer. If this does not work, you should then make a formal complaint, called a ‘grievance’ and if it is still not resolved you can make a claim in the Employment Tribunal.
Generally employers do not need to agree to a reduction in working hours.

All employees now have the right to making a flexible working request. The request should be put in writing and should set out the changes wanted and ideally an explanation of how this might affect the business (for good and bad).

Your employer must then consider your request and would normally be expected to meet with you to discuss it further. The employer’s options are then to accept the request, suggest an alternative proposal or to reject the request and they should reach this decision within three months of the request being submitted (although most employers do so much sooner). Employers can only reject a flexible working request for one of eight reasons;

1. The burden of additional costs
2. That your work cannot be reorganised among other staff
3. That people cannot be recruited to do your work when you are not there
4. That there will be a detrimental impact on quality
5. A detrimental impact on performance
6. That the business will not be able to meet customer demand
7. Due to there being a lack of work to do during the proposed working times
8. That the business is already planning changes to the workforce

As you can see the reasons are very wide ranging and it is often the case that employers can find a reason to reject the request if they wish.

However, knowing that there are limited reasons for refusing the request does allow you to focus your request and tackle these issues and thinking through all the options before making your request is a vital step for all employees making a flexible working request.

For example, if you are looking to reduce your working days from five days to three days, your employer is far more likely to be able to recruit someone to do the other two days if your request is to work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday rather than if you request to work Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It is worth therefore taking some time to reflect on your request, how it might impact your ability to deliver your job and how that impact can be mitigated. By setting this out and explaining possible solutions you can make it far harder for your employer to reject your request. In the example of working three days above, you could acknowledge in your request the potential impact on Thursdays and Fridays but ask that the employer advertises to see if they can recruit someone. If they cannot, well then you have your answer, but if they can then it is very much harder to refuse your request. Furthermore an employer who declines to advertise, without extremely good reason, could find themselves in breach of the Regulations.

The timing of your request should also then come into your plans, for example if you make the above request three or more months in advance of when you want things to come into effect, you give your employer more time to advertise and potentially recruit someone increasing your prospects of a successful outcome. If you make your request one month in advance you make things very much more difficult.

It is also important to note that;

1. Once you have made your request you are barred from making any further request for 12 months and so it is important to get the request right; and
2. If your request is granted, unless specifically agreed otherwise, the change to your working hours is a permanent change. Although you may make a further request after 12 months has passed, there is no guarantee that it will be agreed and you may not therefore be able to return to your original working hours.

Having a child is one of the greatest moments in your life, but children bring with them a few extra expenses. What if one, or both parents were to die, would your child’s future be protected?

Some expenses to consider:

  • Mortgage or rent - the mortgage or rent still needs to be paid, even if a parent passes away.
  • Debts - any joint loans or credit cards will need to be paid by the surviving partner - finding the money to pay these off can be difficult for just one person.
  • Everyday essentials - they include food and utilities such as gas and electric, which can quickly become a burden.
  • Childcare - as a parent, you’ll want to ensure your children are well cared for.
  • Education - further education is expensive with student debt at all-time highs, financial support from parents is usually essential.

How Can I Ensure that the Above Expenses are Taken Care Of?

Put Yourself First
This means reducing debts such as credit cards, loans or mortgage as well as planning for you own retirement. Otherwise these liabilities will fall to your family to deal with after you’ve gone.

Start Saving
Once you’ve got debts under control, then you are in a position to start saving and putting money away. It may make sense to save for your children in a tax-efficient Junior ISA to put the money in their names rather than as part of your estate. Starting when your children are young means that any funds have longer to grow.

Protect Your Income and Home
It is essential to protect your income and home in case anything happens that could risk your family’s financial wellbeing, such as illness, injury, or premature death. It is crucial to consider mortgage or rent protection, income protection, life insurance, and critical illness cover.

Make a Will
We always recommend that you have a Will in place. If you have young children, you state in your Will who you would like to be their legal guardians in the event that both their parents have died. The guardians would make day to day decisions regarding their care.

Where you are leaving your estate to your children, you name in your Will who would manage assets for the children until they are old enough to inherit, these people are called your trustees.

This is an important role as your trustees would decide what access your children have to funds and how these funds are managed. The trustees and the guardians can be the same people but do not have to be. It is important that you choose trustees that you are confident could manage the funds effectively for the children. You can have a maximum of four trustees, and so this can be a combination of relatives, friends or a professional such as Nockolds Solicitors if required.

The youngest your children could become absolutely entitled to funds from your estate would be 18, however it is possible to increase this age (for example, to 21 or 25) if you do not feel your children would be financially mature enough at 18.

Assets would then be held in a trust for the children until they reached that age. Funds can be given to the children prior to this, for example if they want a new car or to go to university, but this would be at the discretion of the trustees. The trustees decide what provision is made for the children’s maintenance, and it is likely they would pay a monthly allowance to the guardians to cover the cost of their care.

You may be asking the legal guardians and trustees to take on this role for many years in the future and so it is important that you consider who to appoint carefully and check with them that they are happy to undertake the responsibility.

For new parents, there’s so much going on but protecting the future of your children is one aspect which shouldn’t be ignored. Planning is crucial in making sure the financial future of your family is secure should the worst happen.

Saving, Insurance and making sure you have a valid Will in place are some of the ways you can help to provide the financial protection your family needs in the event of your death. Speak to a member of the team to discuss your individual circumstances and find out more.

Important Information

  • This article is for your general information only, and is not intended to address your particular requirements. The content should not be relied upon in its entirety and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, advice.
  • No individual or company should act upon such information without receiving appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of their particular situation. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of the content.
  • The value of your investments and the income derived from them can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invested. Where stated, past performance is used as a guide and is no guarantee of future returns.
  • Although endeavours have been made to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is provided or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.
  • Levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change and their value depends on the specific circumstances of the individual. All figures relate to the current tax year unless otherwise stated.
  • These policies are not savings or investment products and have no cash-in value at any time.
  • If you stop paying premiums at any time during the policy term the cover will cease.
A sworn translation is a certified official translation of any document. The sworn official translation holds the same validity held by the original document in the country in which it was issued.

Sworn Translators appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation are the only translators who can produce official translations which will be recognised and accepted by any country.

The official translation into English of the Spanish birth certificates need to be submitted to the relevant authorities in the UK when applying for the British passports.
Parental responsibility means the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child and the child’s property.

Practically, this means that a person with parental responsibility is responsible for:

• Providing a home for the child
• Protecting and maintaining the child
• Disciplining the child
• Choosing and providing for the child’s education
• Agreeing to the child’s medical treatment
• Naming the child and agreeing to any change of name
• Looking after the child’s property

Mothers automatically have parental responsibility. Fathers have parental responsibility if they are married to the mother at the time of the birth or subsequently marry her, have an agreement with the mother that they have parental responsibility, are named on the child’s birth certificate (after 1 December 2003) or there is a court order which provides for the child to live with them, or which otherwise gives them parental responsibility.

Parents who marry after a child is born must, by law, re-register the birth (see article – birth certificate after remarriage).

A step-parent can acquire parental responsibility if the parents with parental responsibility agree (that agreement should be documented) or by Court Order.

The situation can be far more complicated for same sex couples and you may need advice on your particular situation. For more information refer to (fran’s blog on same sex PR).

Very often, the lack of parental responsibility for a father (or step-parent) becomes an issue after separation and when there are issues in relation to the arrangements for the child. If the mother does not agree that the father should have parental responsibility, we can make a court application for the father to have parental responsibility at the same time as the court application in relation to the arrangements for the child. In deciding whether a father should have parental responsibility, the court will consider:

• The degree of commitment shown by the father to the child
• The degree of attachment between father and the child
• The father's reasons for applying for the order

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For more information and to find out how we can help you, please contact us on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be in touch.

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