Legal considerations when starting a family

Starting a family can be one of the most exciting and meaningful things a person can do, however, not everyone has the same experience. Many believe it will be easy and happen naturally for them at the click of a finger, and yet some can find themselves in a position where they have to go down the IVF or adoption route.

Some people sadly lose their child during birth, and this can break families apart due to the trauma. Here at Scullion LAW, we can help you with all different family scenarios, with specialists on our team such as Judith Higson who is an accredited lawyer for The Foundation for Infant Loss. Life can be very unexpected, and our family solicitors are here to help you deal with whatever may be thrown your way.

Before you start a family

Although nothing can ever emotionally prepare you for starting a family, there are things you should consider beforehand.

If you are getting married or are going to start living with someone, you may choose to get a Prenuptial Agreement or a minute of agreement in place. Having these in place removes the chance of disputes arising in the future should you and your partner separate. For example, a minute of agreement can show precisely who owns what share of a property and help to distinguish the finances of each party.

If you fall pregnant, it is important to consider what your health insurance is and what your legal rights to maternity and paternity pay are. Understanding your level of medical cover as well as any employment entitlement early on can save you from any unexpected costs in the future.

When your family begins

Bringing a baby into your life can be both joyful and stressful, and the financial and legal implications of parenting can feel overwhelming at the beginning. Once the baby arrives, there are some steps you should take, such as:

Registering the birth: In Scotland, you must register the birth of your baby with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages before they are 21 days old. You can ask your midwife or hospital staff for details on where your local one is.
Updating your Will and appointing a guardian: Whenever a family circumstance changes, such as the birth of a child, you should revise your Will to acknowledge this. Amending your Will when you have dependent children allows you to decide how your child should be cared for and who you wish to be their legal guardian should you pass away. Without a Will, guardianship will be agreed following a lengthy court process and can end up being very impersonal. If you need legal assistance to draft, amend or update your Will, get in touch with Scullion LAW today.

Dealing with a family breakdown

Unfortunately, families can breakdown. Should this happen, you should try to prioritise the children.

All children will react differently to the news that their parents are divorcing; while some may feel anger, others may feel guilt. A recent poll from UK organisation Resolution found that 19% of the children aged 14-22 felt that their parents’ divorce was their fault. Be open with your children about the changes that are taking place and reassure them that this decision is between the parents and has not been influenced by them.

Children benefit from positive relationships with both parents so ensure that there is minimal conflict and heated discussions, especially when you are around the children. A divorce can be a difficult change for a child, however, putting your differences aside and minimising the disruption to their daily routine will bring stability to your new family life. Any issues with the other parent should be sidelined, and the ultimate focus of both parties must be on raising a happy and healthy child.

That being said, divorce is not only tough on the children but on the couple themselves. It can be challenging to speak with your ex-partner as there can be a level of blame and resentment over the separation. However, handling any issues in a non-confrontational setting can be the difference between a smooth and a messy divorce.

The collaborative approach to divorce allows separating couples to reach an agreement on important decisions calmly and respectfully. By working with a collaborative professional, you and your partner can make arrangements for your children and sort through your finances – all without the need for a court battle. With 82% of children who endured family breakups stating they would have preferred their parents to separate if they were unhappy, when handled correctly, a divorce can be the best answer for the entire family.

Contact Scullion LAW Expert Family Law Solicitors Glasgow & Hamilton

Our experienced team of family lawyers have the skills and experience required to help people find the best solution for their particular circumstance. If you and your partner need specialist legal advice from a qualified family law solicitor, get in touch with Scullion LAW today via the online enquiry form.

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