Our Cardiff family law team answer some of their most frequently asked questions including children matters, divorce and financial settlement.
- What is parental responsibility?
Parental responsibility refers to your legal rights and responsibilities as a parent. This can involve making decisions about where your child goes to school, what medical treatment they receive and who they spend time with.
- Does one parent get favoured over the other?
No; both parents are treated equally throughout the court process. The focus is always on the safety and wellbeing of the children and this will be the court’s paramount consideration.
- Who are Cafcass?
Children and Family Advisory and Support Service; Cafcass advises the court independently about what is safe for the children and what is in their best interests. They can also represent children within proceedings.
- I have a court order but my ex-partner has broken it by not allowing me to see the children. What can I do?
Try to contact your ex-partner as soon as possible to make arrangements. If this does not work, take legal advice at the earliest opportunity. It may also be necessary to make an application to court.
- Are there set rules about where a child should live?
No. When deciding where a child should live and who they should spend time with, the court will consider the ‘Welfare Checklist’. This contains a set of considerations that the court will apply to each case, including the child’s welfare and any current conditions that may affect their upbringing, accommodation and / or wellbeing.
Divorce and financial settlement
- Will I automatically receive 50% of all matrimonial assets?
Not necessarily unless you reach an agreed position with your spouse. If the matter proceeds to court, an equal share of assets is a starting position but this could be adjusted by the court if other factors apply that give rise to an unequal division.
- I have worked part-time during the marriage in order to bring up the children. Will the court take this into account when working out my share?
The court considers all aspects of the marriage to include time spent raising children and any other contributions that applied throughout the course of the marriage.
- Our family home is owned by my ex-spouse because I did not have a good credit rating when the house was purchased. Does this mean that they will retain the house?
The starting point in considering all assets is 50/50. Other factors such as contributions may be considered but also the reasons why the house was purchased in a sole name. The court has wide discretion when dealing with these matters and will consider all aspects of your case, but housing needs will be one of the court’s primary concerns.
- What is a pension actuary and what do they do?
A pension actuary is a specialist who can prepare a report to consider your options when dividing pensions in terms of pension income and value. Without an actuary, it is unlikely that a lawyer will be able to provide an accurate report as to how pension provisions should be divided.
- Does the fact that we have received our final order (formerly known as decree absolute) in divorce proceedings mean that our finances are also finalised?
No, as additional steps need to be taken to dismiss financial claims. Otherwise, these claims may remain open which could cause difficulty further down the line. You could also face problems if you re-marry by not tying up your financial claims from your previous marriage.