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Who will look after my children?

We have all considered what would happen to our children in the event of our death. The simple answer is they will stay with the other parent. However what happens if your former partner does not see the children or is considered a risk.

If your children are under the age of 18 it is strongly advised that you make a Will. One of the provisions within that Will will be your choice of Guardian in the event that both parents die before your child reaches adulthood. The Guardian would be able to make important decisions in the relation to the child’s upbringing such as education, religion and medical treatment.

Such an appointment would only come into effect if all people who have parental responsibility for the child have died.

If you are an unmarried father who is not named on your child’s birth certificate you should check your status and consider taking action to acquire parental responsibility as, if you do not hold it, you could find yourself in a situation where you have to make an application to the Court for your child  to live with you. It is important for separated parents therefore to agree the identity of a Guardian wherever possible.

The automatic presumption is that a child would live with the surviving parent unless there is any reason why this should not happen (such as risk). Your appointment of a Guardian within your Will does not bind the Court. It would be good evidence of your wishes and feelings and would be taken into account by any Judge but the welfare checklist would be the overriding factor for the Court when making their decision. The Judge would have to decide what they feel is best for the child.

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