My relationship has broken down and I am in a really difficult financial position. I don’t know where to turn.
The breakdown of any relationship can be a particularly difficult and stressful time. It can be very challenging to make decisions that are in the best interests of you and your children. It is important to obtain legal advice at an early stage to ensure that you know your rights and your entitlements.
Where one parent is the primary carer of the children and cannot meet their financial needs, they can seek to have the other parent discharge Maintenance in respect of the dependent children. Maintenance is money towards the day to day costs a child incurs: food, clothing, schooling & medical/dental costs as well as costs of extra-curricular activities, school trips etc.
Maintenance can of course be paid by agreement. If no agreement can be reached between the parties, an application can be made in the District Court for a Maintenance Order to be made, whereby a Judge makes a decision on the amount and frequency of the Maintenance to be paid by one party to the other.
I really want to secure a concrete schedule for my children to have access with me, so that they know when they will see me and will provide some stability and certainty for them.
Access is the word used to describe the right of a child to have access with the parent/guardian that they do not live with, in order to spend time together. If one parent works full-time it can often be the case that the childs access to that parent would take place in the evenings or at weekends. It is essential at the outset of a relationship breakdown that a solid plan is put in place to ensure that there is stability and certainty for the child/children around access to the other parent.
It should be possible to agree an access plan however if no agreement can be reached an application can be made to the District Court to have a Judge rule on the issue of access. As these types of cases involve children, any decision made by the Court will be made in the child’s best interests. Depending on the age of the child, the Court can take into account their views.
Once a formal Court Order is made in relation to access, it must be adhered to my both parties and cannot be altered unless one party make an application for a Variation of Access.
If one of the parties deliberately breaches the Court Order setting out the access consistently, the other party can bring an application to the District Court for a Breach of the Order.