Is An Open Relationship Cause To Remove A Child From Parental Care?

By acelegal September 26, 2018

In Irish law, particularly in care proceedings, the welfare of the child must come first at all times. This is the governing principle upon which decisions are made about child custody and the rare cases in which children are removed from their parent’s care.

Procedures to take a child into care will usually follow a long period of time in which interventions are offered to the parents after a child is identified as being at risk of significant harm. Only if these interventions are unsuccessful, and agreements are not met to the satisfaction of the local authority, will the child be removed from the care of his or her parents.

Why Are Children Taken In To Care?

Most of the children who are taken into local authority care are seen to have suffered neglect at the hands of their parents, and this is almost always an influential factor in such cases.

A recent case in the West Midlands, UK, saw three children taken into local authority care after reports that their parents were in an open relationship that was detrimental to their welfare. This raises concerns for parents about how their own lifestyles can affect their right to care for their children. However, it was noted by the Judge in this case that the court does not concern itself with the private lives of parents unless this impacts upon the way in which children are cared for. In other words, the open relationship was identified as a factor that contributed to neglect, as the children were not protected or cared for properly while their parents pursued this lifestyle, but was not, in itself, the reason for removal.

In many child protection cases, factors such as the behaviour of parents, drug addiction and illegal activities are identified as factors leading to neglect, and the open relationship in the above case was viewed in the same way by the professionals involved. Any circumstances that compromise the care and safety of a child can be cause for an investigation into child welfare, and this could progress to the removal of a child if recommendations or agreements are not followed.

Talk To Family Law Solicitors in Cork

If you require legal advice on any aspect of family law, including care proceedings, adoption or parental responsibility, you should talk to a solicitor who is experienced in family law. A good solicitor will help you to consider all of the aspects of your situation, and advise you on how to pursue your case.

Contact Irwin, Kilcullen & Co Solicitors for a free consultation without obligation and benefit from our expertise in family law claims. Simply contact us online or call us today on +021 4270934 to talk to our experienced and helpful team.

Why Do I Need A Will?

By acelegal September 10, 2018

A Will is a legally binding document that is used to determine how a person’s estate and property will be distributed after his or her death. This is the best way to ensure that your wishes will be followed after your death, and it must be written clearly so that there is no possibility of it being contested in the future.

It is possible to write your own Will, but if you do not seek legal advice this may not be watertight. We would always advise that the best way to make a Will is through an experienced Wills and Probate Solicitor, who will ensure that it is written and witnessed properly, to avoid any future problems.

How Can I Make A Will?

  1. The most straightforward way to make a Will is to consult an experienced Solicitor, who will ensure that your wishes are represented clearly. A Will will usually begin with a declaration of your identity and your intention to make a Last Will And Testament, and will then detail your intentions for your estate, your assets and any dependent children you have. The Will will be witnessed by two independent witnesses, who are not included as beneficiaries, and will usually be kept in safe storage with your Solicitor, although you can keep a copy at home.
  2. You will need to appoint executors, and guardians if you have dependent children, and these will be responsible for administering the estate according to your Will. This can be a long and complex process, so it is important to choose carefully, and to discuss this in advance.
  3. Your Will should be very clear, to avoid any challenges in the future, and should detail all beneficiaries and what they will receive. You can select, for example, the age at which your children can receive their share of your estate, and the way in which your property should be divided. Individual gifts can be allocated in the Will, or in a letter stored with the Will, which allows you to more easily make amendments to this in the future.
  4. If you are making a Will as a couple, you will usually leave everything to your partner in the first instance, excluding specific gifts. You must keep your Will updated to reflect any changes in your circumstances, and be aware that if your spouse were to remarry after your death, your property would belong to him or her and the new spouse entirely, and would not necessarily pass to your children in the future.

If You Do Not Make A Will

If you do not make a Will, you will be declared intestate in the event of your death. This will mean that your estate is allocated according to the rules of intestacy, which provide that your next of kin becomes the administrator. This means that your wishes will not necessarily be represented, and your assets will be given to your nearest living relative, whether or not you have ever had contact with him or her.

Find Wills And Estate Solicitors in Cork

If you do not have a Will, or you wish to find out how to contest the Will of a loved one, you can talk to our Wills and Probate specialists at Irwin, Kilcullen & Co Solicitors. Simply contact us online or call us today on +021 4270934 to see how we can help.

How To Get A Divorce

By acelegal August 8, 2018

If a marriage has gone beyond the point of reconciliation, and one or both partners has made the decision to divorce, the question of how to proceed will arise. In Ireland, as long as at least one partner has lived in the country for at least a year, a married couple can divorce if certain circumstances apply.

These include:

  1. Living apart for at least four years out of the five year period prior to filing for divorce. This does not necessarily have to mean living in separate properties, but must involve living independent lives and not sharing sleeping space.

  2. No prospect of reconciliation. It must be seen that there is no possibility of the spouses being reconciled or working through their difficulties to remain married.

  3. Provision for dependents. The courts must be satisfied that the spouses and any children will be properly provided for in the case of divorce.

What Happens When You Get A Divorce?

The first thing you should do when you decide to seek a divorce is to take legal advice from an experienced solicitor. Legal aid may be available to you, but if not, if your divorce is not contested, it may end up costing you around €1200. This cost could be significantly higher if your spouse contests your divorce or if there are complicated issues concerned. You may want to represent yourself, without engaging legal action, but take care as this could leave you vulnerable to legislation you do not fully understand, and this may put you in a difficult position in the future.

More difficult or lucrative divorce cases will be addressed by the High Court, but most people will apply for their divorce via the Circuit Court. This is a long process, and it may be many months before your case is heard. In the meantime, you should ensure that you apply for interim orders to include maintenance payments and custody agreements, as well as an order detailing who may live in the home at this time. If you can work this out amicably between you, this will save you both a great deal of stress.

Work Together For An Amicable Divorce

Anything that you can resolve with your spouse outside of the courts will save you both money and potential upset. If it is possible, discuss what to do with the home you have shared, considering whether you will sell immediately or whether one spouse will remain in the home with any children until the youngest reaches the age of 18. If you have children, you may be able to agree on a custody arrangement that suits all of you. However, if you cannot, the Court will make custody rulings and consider maintenance payments to protect the interests of the children.

At the end of the divorce proceedings, the Court will make a ruling that takes into account everything that has been discussed. A divorce will be granted and the details will be agreed upon by all parties, who will then be legally bound to uphold their agreements. This should create a plan for moving forwards that allows all parties the best opportunities to succeed in the future.

Talk To Family Law Solicitors in Cork

Contact Irwin, Kilcullen & Co Solicitors for a free consultation without obligation and benefit from our expertise in family law. Simply contact us online or call us today on +021 4270934 to talk to our experienced and helpful team.

Making A Personal Injury Claim

By acelegal July 12, 2018

Personal Injury Solicitors Cork CityIf you have been injured and believe that another party is at fault, you may be able to make a claim for compensation under personal injury legislation. In Ireland, you will make your claim through the Injuries Board in the first instance, and you should do this after you have sought legal and medical advice. Failing to do this can lead to a settlement in which you receive far less compensation than you are entitled to, so it is in your interests to ensure that you are well advised before you begin the process.

In Order To Make A Personal Injury Claim, You Should:

•    Claim within two years. All claims for personal injuries must be made within two years of the date of the injury you have suffered, or within two years of the date at which you became aware that your injuries were the fault of another party. You can apply for compensation via The Injuries Board initially, and then via the courts if this does not have a satisfactory outcome.

•    Make an Injuries Board Application. You are advised to make your application to The Injuries Board as soon as possible, and to ensure that you have all the relevant documentation to do this. You will need a medical assessment form and records of any relevant communications, including receipts to verify any financial losses as a result of your injury, and any correspondence with the party you believe to be at fault. You will also need to pay the application fee at this stage.

•    Undergo assessment. As soon as possible following your injury, we advise that you write to the party you believe to be at fault, setting out all the details of your accident or injury and your intention to make a compensation claim. The Injuries Board will contact this party again and they will have 90 days in which to consent or decline to comply with the agency process, at which stage you can commence court proceedings if they decline. If they consent, you will have your claim assessed, usually within 9 months, although this is occasionally extended to 15 months. Medical evidence will be considered, and further reports may be requested.

•    Receive offer. The compensation award you are offered should take into account the losses you have suffered as a result of your injury as well as any medical or rehabilitation costs, and other expenses. You have 28 days to consider the award, and if you do not reply within this time you will be assumed to have rejected the award. The other party has 21 days to consider the award, and will be seen to have accepted it if they do not reply.

•    Take next steps. If you accept the award, and the other party also accepts, your claim will be considered to be settled, and an order to pay will be issued to the party at fault. This is legally binding and will incur court proceedings if it is not paid in full. If you decide to reject the award, or the other party does so, you can begin court proceedings immediately and should consult an experienced solicitor about this.

Find Personal Injury Solicitors in Cork

If you have suffered an injury that was not your fault, you can talk to our personal injury specialists at Irwin, Kilcullen & Co Solicitors. Simply contact us online or call us today on +021 4270934 to see how we can help.

Is It Possible To Dispute A Will?

By acelegal July 7, 2018

When someone you love has died, dealing with all of their personal effects and the distribution of property is a complex matter, even if there are no complicating factors. Taking care of this as well as processing your own grief can be very difficult. However, if you believe that a Will is unfair, or that it has not been made legally, this can makes things a lot more stressful.

If the Will of a loved one is not what you expected, or not what you believed it would be, you may be able to challenge it. This is a very complicated situation in law, and we would always advise that you discuss your concerns with relatives or other beneficiaries of the Will before proceeding with a case. However, if you believe that there has been a mistake or misjudgement, you should seek legal advice from a solicitor experienced in Wills and Probate.

Disputing A Will: What To Do

A Will is a legal document that sets out the wishes of the deceased, and in most cases, it will be followed as directed, since it is legally binding. There are certain circumstances in which a Will may be challenged, however, although these are limited:

  • If you are dependent upon the deceased. The Inheritance Act 1975 allows that a person, or group of people, who have been dependent upon the deceased, may be allowed to challenge a Will in which they feel they have not been treated fairly. This includes anyone who was being financially supported by the deceased, as well as children, step children, foster children, adopted children, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, spouses and civil partners. If you fall within this description, you may be able to challenge the Will of the deceased, especially if being left out of the Will could leave you financially destitute. You should take legal advice to find out more about how to proceed in this situation.
  • If a Will was made when not of sound mind. In some cases, when the family of the deceased believe that he or she was not of sound mind when a Will was made or changed, it is possible to challenge the Will. However, it is always best to do this while the person concerned is still living, at which time an application can be made to assume power of attorney or make a statutory Will to protect the individual and his or her family. It is very difficult to prove legal incompetence, so this is a very challenging pathway.

How To Avoid Contests To Your Will

last willWhen writing your own Will, it is important to consider how you will protect yourself and your assets against contests. For example, if you are choosing to leave someone out of your Will, who could reasonably expect to benefit from it, you should include a statement to explain why you have made this choice, or add a covering letter to clarify this.

It is vital to keep your Will up to date, as your circumstances change throughout your life. You may find, for example, that an estranged spouse is still the legal beneficiary of your property if you have not altered your Will upon your separation, and this might affect your children and whether they receive anything from your estate. It is also important to remember that a Will becomes invalid upon a marriage, unless it is specifically stated otherwise in the Will itself.

Find Wills And Estate Solicitors in Cork

If you do not have a Will, or you wish to find out how to contest the Will of a loved one, you can talk to our Wills and Probate specialists at Irwin, Kilcullen & Co Solicitors. Simply contact us online or call us today on +021 4270934 to see how we can help.