Monthly Archives

March 2017

Mothers Day Child Arrangements

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Mother’s Day is often a wonderful celebratory time for many families. However it can also be a painful reminder of difficult circumstances if you are unable to spend time with your children on this special day. It can be the small things that can make you feel sad, perhaps as a single parent when your children are too young to make a card or recognise the occasion. However it can be felt much more deeply on Mother’s Day, when your children are not with you.

 

 

Contact and residence matters, now referred to as ‘child arrangements’, can be a long and emotionally draining journey to reach an agreement or decision on what these should be. This process isn’t necessarily free either; there is no public funding for these matters since the legal aid cuts except in cases where there is specific evidence of domestic abuse dated within the last five years.

 

If matters can be resolved amicably, that is beneficial for all involved but sadly this isn’t always possible. Mediation is encouraged and if this is effective then other avenues can be explored.

 

If you are the primary carer and fear the other party is a serious risk to your children then you may take the decision to stop contact. The Courts will seek to ensure that appropriate safeguarding takes place if there is any risk that the children may be exposed to.

 

We can assist with all sorts of matters of this nature including child arrangement disputes and even help with enforcement of child arrangement orders where one party isn’t complying with a Court order.

 

What is important to remember is that when there are children involved in the situation and though emotions run high, your child’s wellbeing is the most important factor to consider. Sometimes taking legal advice is necessary to gain a resolution and ensure the best outcome for your child/children.

 

Within the Court process there will be involvement from CAFCASS. They may give recommendations as to who is best placed to care for the children, or how much time each parent should spend with the children. It isn’t the case that Mothers will always be the primary carer. A decision will be made based on the circumstances of each case. The best interests of the children will be the main consideration for any Court. This is a difficult situation for anyone to go through and though the process may take a certain amount of time, effects can be felt a long time afterwards.

 

We understand this can be a stressful and turbulent time and we will always strive to go beyond the best legal advice, also providing emotional support and practical advice.

 

If you do need some advice at this time get in touch on 0208 884 2277.

 

Deepa Chohan, Solicitor

Gift or Not a Gift – Conveyancing

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When is a gift not a gift? I mean this in relation to buying a house and being given cash towards a conveyancing transaction.

You will no doubt have seen the piece in the news recently about Ryan Giggs moving into the house he bought for his mother.

More and more we are seeing gifts in conveyancing transactions, although usually they are from the bank of mum and dad and not the other way around! So what’s the difference between a gift and a loan and when is a gift not a gift?

The most common gifts seen in conveyancing transactions are gifted deposits -these are monies given to buyers and applied towards the purchase price and are usually from family members. However, gifts must be disclosed to both solicitors and mortgage lenders alike.

Money Gift ConveyancingIn order to comply with requirements solicitors are under an obligation to disclose the existence of gifts to the mortgage lender. The persons giving the gifts (let’s call them the giftors) will need to confirm in writing that the monies are a gift and not a loan and therefore the giftors will not have any interest in the property. The mortgage lender will rely on this declaration. Most solicitors will also require proof of identification for the giftors and evidence of the source of funds.

 

The majority if not all lenders will be reluctant to lend if the monies are not a gift and therefore will need to be repaid. This is usually be because the lender does not want any further parties to have an interest in the property in the event that the lender repossess’ the same.

So when gifting monies, giftors should appreciate the fact that they will have no control over the monies given and cannot claim it back! In most situations there is no problem with this but consider the following example:

Tim and Sarah have decided to buy a property for £300,000. They are obtaining a mortgage for £200,000 contributing £60,000 themselves from their joint savings. Sarah’s dad, Jeff, is gifting £40,000. But who is he gifting the monies to – Tim and Sarah or just Sarah? If to Tim and Sarah then there is no problem. If Jeff wishes the money to benefit his daughter only how can the gift be given for the benefit of Sarah if the house is being bought jointly between Tim and Sarah – Jeff will have no control over the gift. Well, one way would be for Tim and Sarah to enter into a deed of trust, stating that in the event the property is sold the first £40,000 of the equity could be applied for the sole benefit of Sarah with the remainder of the equity being split between Tim and Sarah. This means that whilst Jeff’s gift is a gift, the gift is going to the benefit of his daughter both now and in the future. The gift that keeps on gifting!

 

We hope this has been illuminating.

Should you like more information please contact Nicola Payne, Partner, Conveyancing – 020 8506 3729 or for any questions about trusts please contact Nancy Mortemore or Nigel Barnes on [email protected]

 

Nicola Payne, B&P Solicitors Chingford