Financial provision for children

Parents are legally obliged to provide for their children. The extent, type and duration of provision depends on the financial circumstances of both parents and can range from regular monthly payments (known as child maintenance) to lump sums and/or providing accommodation.

Confidante can advise clients on the appropriate level and type of support which usually requires some form of financial exchange process followed by negotiations and in rare occasions, court involvement.

Got questions?

It is usual that the non-resident parent will pay child maintenance to the resident parent where the children live primarily with one parent.

 

In a shared residence scenario, it may be appropriate that no maintenance is payable unless there is disparity in the income/capital positions of the parents in which case child maintenance may be payable.

 

To understand the appropriate amount, it is advisable to seek legal advice.  Every case is different and the outcome will depend on the specific circumstances of the case.

Reaching an agreement when it comes to the children is always the preferred outcome as otherwise the decision is left to a Judge which is rarely in the children’s best interests.

 

Have you really exhausted all options to reach an agreement? Check out;

 

i) Episode 2 of our Podcast series - “The many ways mediation can help” during which we talk to Family Mediation Jersey [hyperlink] about how mediation can help parents struggling to agree on child related matters such as where a child should live, contact arrangements or child maintenance;

ii) Episode 3 of our Podcast series - “How to help you help your kids” during which we talk to a divorce parenting expert about how parents can co-parent well; and

iii) This excellent Guide prepared by Resolution which walks parents through a relationship breakdown and what to expect when it comes to the children.

 

Obtain legal advice if you feel you have explored all options. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the help of your lawyer, they may suggest Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) (see FAQ on ADR methods available on matters relating to children).

Mediation

Lawyer led Mediation is a process where parties meet with an independent third party mediator with their lawyers present. The mediator facilitates discussions to encourage agreement around the issues in dispute. It is possible to attend mediation to resolve issues about children, or finances, or both.

 

Having your lawyer present means that you can access legal advice during the mediation process to ensure that you are well informed about your legal position and before reaching an agreement.

 

ENE (Early Neutral Evaluation)

An ENE is a process in which an Early Neutral Evaluator will consider each parties’ arguments and will give the parties a judicial steer (i.e. set out what they would order if they were the judge in the case). This helps parents to negotiate the case where they have reached an impasse.

 

Mediation and/or ENE’s are more cost effective than a final hearing and the parties retain some control over the outcome. Both processes are without prejudice which means that they are held “behind closed doors” meaning that neither party can disclose to the trial judge (if necessary) what took place during either process if agreement is not reached.

It is really sensible to record in writing what you have agreed as this can avoid disputes at a later date.

 

A Parenting Agreement can be created which can cover as much or as little as you require. The higher the conflict, the more useful a detailed Parenting Agreement will be.

 

The common topics covered by a Parenting Agreement are – where the children should live, how they divide their time, handovers, communications between the parents, education, child care arrangements, health care, updating each other of important matters/sharing important documentation (such as school Reports etc), taking the children out of the Island on holidays and costs relating to the children.

 

If Court proceedings have been issued, and agreement has been reached, the agreement can be recorded in a Consent Order which can be ratified by the Court and made into a Court Order.

family legal services

Hi! I’m Advocate Carly James, a family law specialist in Jersey.

I know how daunting it can be to talk to a family / divorce lawyer and potentially commence a legal process relating to divorce, separation or your children.

If you would like to hear a little more about who we are, whether we would be a good match for you or when we can get started, get in touch and let’s start the conversation.

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