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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34887
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Family Law Question

Customer Question


I have two children aged 4 & 6, Joseph and Hettie; they were born through IVF and I am named on the birth certificate as the father (Matthew). My partner (Debbie) and I were not married and we are still not married. We have been living together for 11 years. The house in which we live is in my name, mortgage in my name and Debbie is not on the deeds. The children go to a local school and up until 2 days ago Debbie and I lived in the same property. Two days ago I explained the relationship had not been working for a number of years and whilst I still love Debbie I am not in love with her and we have grown apart; I have slept in the spare room for the best part of the last 5 years. As expected the conversation was not a nice one and there has been an argument and I was told to leave the family home, or Debbie would take the kids and move to her mothers and change their school etc. I want to keep the relationship as friends in the interest of the children and have no wish to hurt Debbie. I have no where else to live although at this time I have left with most of my personal possessions. It is important to me the kids are safe, secure and happy and I believe this to be the wish of my partner too; I believe this best to be served with Debbie and the kids remaining in the house; with my part time occupation in the spare room. Debbie has agreed that we have indeed lived a lie and she affirmed that we are both going to act in the best interests of the children and I can spend some time in the spare room. I pay all the house costs and give Debbie £1400 per month for food and to ensure the children are O-Kay. There is an outstanding Credit Card bill in her name of £7000. I also have credit card bills in excess of this amount. Debbie works voluntary and does not have a salary. My questions are:

1. Can she remove the children from the house and take them elsewhere to live, when there best interests are stability and the family home?

2. Can she refuse me access to the children (I have no criminal or any other convictions and I have not been abusive in anyway, with the exception of arguing but certainly not excessive) ?

3. What are my rights as the named father on the Birth Certificates?

4. If she were to move someone else in the house (in my name) can I refuse?

5. If she were to move someone in, male who was a wage earner what are my financial obligations?

6. If I want to move on in my life and meet someone else does it damage my rights?

7. Whilst I intend on paying the mortgage and all the house costs and give Debbie and the children £1400pm; what are my legal obligations?

8. What is the best course of action, in consideration that I do not want to make a bad situation worse?

9. Have a right to live in the house and demand the children stay there?

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How much is the house worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?
What income do you have?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you.

House is worth circa £200,000, mortgage £60,000

My income is varied.

Employed Income £25,000

Self employed £12,000

Thank you


Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hw much would a cheaper three bedroom property in the same school area cost to buy?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Probably get down to £150,000

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Are you still happy to answer this for me?

I know you have probably been busy today, but please tell me if not so I know.

Many thanks


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Researched the village, there is a 3 bedroom property £155,000

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
My apologies for the delay
Since you are not married your liability is limited
Your maintenance liability is 16% of your gross income from all sources AT MOST
In addition you are under a duty to help house the children until they are 18 - either in the current property - or if you would find it less financially burdensome then you could look at selling that property and purchasing a cheaper one - mortgage free or almost.
When your youngest child is 18 the house will then revert to you - unless you ever promised your ex that she would have a share of the equity.
To deal with the specific questions in Order
1. Yes she can if she wishes - although you can then apply for the return of the children to your care - if you think that is realistic
2.The law says that children are entitled to contact with both parents - and the courts will enforce that if necessary
3.You have Parental Responsibility for the children and that does not change
4. If she tries to move a new partner in then you can insist that the house is sold and she and her new partner rehouse themselves
5. See above
6. No that will change nothing
7. That is generous - your maintenance liability is 16% of your gross income
8. Your best way forward is to suggest that you and your ex discuss matters using Family mediation -
9. You are fully entitled to live there - the issue of where the children live is a separate matter
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details