Parental Responsibility – What it is and how to get it.

Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility is the term used to define a person’s responsibility and obligations towards a child. A person with Parental Responsibility can make decisions on behalf of a child such as determining the name that they will be known by, consenting to medical treatment as well as decisions as to how a child is to be educated.

Parental Responsibility can be held by one person or more than one person. Where Parental Responsibility is held by one person, that person has the sole right to make decisions regarding a child and can for example, lawfully change a child’s name, remove the child from England and Wales or appoint a guardian in their will which will take effect upon their death.

Where Parental Responsibility is held by more than one person, they will each hold it jointly and any significant decisions such as changing a child’s name or removing the child from England and Wales (even for a holiday) will have to be agreed by all.

A mother will automatically get Parental Responsibility when the child is born. Unfortunately, it is not so straight forward for a biological father but there are a number of ways in which he might acquire it.

Firstly, he might acquire it if he is married to the child’s mother at the time of the birth or subsequently. Secondly, if he and the mother are not married, he will automatically acquire it if he is named on the child’s birth certificate (for births registered after 1st December 2003). Thirdly, he and the mother can enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement and finally, an application can be made to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order.

There are also provisions for same sex parents to both acquire it where assisted reproduction has been used including a Parental Order when a surrogate has carried the baby.

People other than the parents can also acquire Parental Responsibility. A Step- Parent might get it by entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement, getting a Parental Responsibility Order or being named as a person the child lives with in a Child Arrangements Order.

Other people may get Parental Responsibility if they are named as a person the child lives with in a Child Arrangements Order, appointed as Special Guardians for the child or validly appointed as a child’s guardian in a parents will on their death or appointed by the court as a guardian following the parent’s death and of course, if they formally adopt the child.

Whether a father has Parental Responsibility or not does not however, mean that he can avoid responsibility for paying Child Maintenance and a lack of it does not impact upon the child’s inheritance rights. It is also the case that where a father does not have responsibility, although the mother may have the sole right to make decisions on behalf of the child, it is still subject to the fathers right to make an application to the court for a Section 8 Order if he does not agree with the decision made.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd our specialist family solicitors have assisted countless people in resolving issues concerning Parental Responsibility and the arrangements for children. We offer initial fixed fee appointments at prices from as little as £50 + vat. We have offices in Enfield, Hertford and Bishops Stortford and also offer telephone or Skype appointments if preferred.

For more information please call us on 01992 558411 or contact us here: http://www.breezeandwyles.co.uk/index.php/form-family-divorce/

 

 


Company Sale

Directors and Associates Loan Account in M&A transactions

Company Sale

“So you want to pay more tax than you ought when you sell shares in a company?” If the answer to this question is "NO!" then this article is essential reading.

Problems can arise in one of two situations:

If you have a group company or a number of companies in common ownership it is possible that you have inter group loan accounts on the balance sheets of some or all of these companies. It is essential in those circumstances that you have deal with them prior to sale.

You may have purchased the shares in the company with a completion payment that is split into two parts, part purchase price and part introduction of a loan amount. This often occurs where the original seller had introduced loan capital into the company to develop the business or to expand it but did not do so by the creation and acquisition of additional shares. This would mean that the purchase price element would be the starting point for the calculation of Capital Gains Tax on sale.

Why is there a problem?

Section 455 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/4/section/455 provides for a 25% tax charge where a loan is created in favour of a participator or an associate of a participator that is not at arms-length. In a sale if the loan is not dealt with appropriately it is likely that the loan itself will be a breach of warranty if not fully and fairly disclosed. Furthermore, the writing down of the loan at completion would create the 25% tax charge on the company and have to be borne by the buyer. In addition, the structure of the purchase price as the full completion payment might not be tax efficient. For instance if you don’t consider the loans at sale having done so at purchase the full amount of the loan capital that you introduced would be subject to Capital Gains Tax as it would not have formed part of the original purchase price meaning that the starting point from which CGT liability will be calculated will be lower. It is essential that careful consideration is given in these circumstances to how to deal with the inter group loans as part of the completion process.

So what should you do now?

If you are thinking of selling a business and you think this is relevant we recommend that you contact our Brendan O’Brien to discuss your options. We work with a number of accountants who will be able to assist you in determining the appropriate method to use to complete the transaction in a tax efficient manner. Contact us here: http://www.breezeandwyles.co.uk/index.php/form-for-business/


Moving on

8th January 2018 AKA "DIVORCE DAY"

 

 

The beginning of the year always brings with it an increase in instructions as couples make the decision to separate. For some the stress over the festive period was simply too much for the relationship to bear; for others perhaps the decision was made towards the end of the last year but put on hold to allow for “one last Christmas”. Additionally, the New Year is generally a time when we are expected to take stock of our lives and make changes to tackle things that we are not happy with and it stands to reason that this applies just as much to problems with a relationship as with the other areas of our lives such as health or fitness.

A decision to separate is not one to be taken lightly. It has significant consequences for all concerned and especially children. Consideration should always be given to whether the relationship can be saved and in this respect marriage counselling can be of significant benefit. If however the breakdown is irretrievable, early advice from a specialist family solicitor will ensure that you are aware of your options going forward so that you know where you stand in relation to a divorce, the financial arrangements resulting from the separation and also the arrangements for the children.

Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd are specialist family solicitors in Hertford, Enfield and Bishops Stortford, able to offer advice and support in relation to divorce and other family law matters. We are also one of only a few solicitors able to offer the full range of process options including mediation, collaborative law and Arbitration. More information of the services we are able to offer is available on our website , including details of our fixed fee services or alternatively call 01992 558411.


Debt Recovery

Changes to Debt Claims

Debt RecoveryThe Civil Procedure Rule Committee has introduced new rules in relation to debt claims which will be governed by Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims and will come into force on 1st October 2017.

The new Protocol will apply to any business, sole traders and public bodies who are claiming payment of money (debt or alleged debt) from an individual including sole trader. Therefore, the Protocol will apply to a sole trader making a claim against another sole trader.  However, this will not apply to business to business debts.

The aim is to encourage both parties to enter into early communication and exchange of information / documents regarding the debts. This will in turn enable the parties to resolve the matter without the need to start court proceedings.  The idea is also to be cost beneficial to all parties to engage in early pre-litigation communication.

A creditor is required to send a Letter of Claim detailing the agreement, issues and how the debt can be paid etc. The Creditor cannot issue court proceedings within 30 days of sending the Letter of Claim.  This is to allow the Debtor to review the Letter of Claim and prepare a detailed response setting out their issues etc.

The Court will take into account whether all parties have complied with the Protocol when giving directions for the management of proceedings. Therefore, failure to comply with the Protocol could result in the proceedings being stayed until the Protocol has been complied with, cost sanctions against the non compliant party or even the claim / defence being dismissed.

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Sharon Matchwick or Rita Wright in our Debt Recovery Department on 01992 558 411

or email debtrecovery@breezeandwyles.co.uk


Domestic Abuse Convention to be followed in UK.

On the 27th April 2017 The Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act 2017 received royal assent.

The purpose of this act was to ratify (make official) the UK’s agreement to comply with the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence which is also known as the Istanbul Convention.  

Violence in any form is unacceptable and although domestic abuse is perpetrated against men and women, statistics show that the majority of victims are female. The convention is based upon the understanding that Domestic Abuse is committed by men against women because they are women and as a way to sustain male power and control. The convention places an obligation upon the state to prevent violence, protect victims and prosecute the perpetrators. It is stated that there can be no real equality between men and women if women experience gender based violence and that states that turn a blind eye and do not actively take steps to tackle these issues are complicit.

Countries that ratify the convention are obliged to raise awareness and educate and encourage people to challenge gender stereotypes, harmful traditional practices and misogynistic attitudes, establish shelters, hotlines, medical services, counselling, legal aid, criminalise and actively prosecute all forms of domestic abuse whilst ensuring that culture, tradition or so called honour are not regarded as a defence. The convention also requires countries to give an annual progress report until they are able to say that they are compliant with the convention.

For current victims of domestic abuse there is support available and it is important to get quick, reliable and easy to understand advice to know what your options are. Our family department is able to offer advice in relation to the full range of family law issues including domestic abuse, finances, divorce and children. Karen Johnson, one of the directors at Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd is a Resolution Accredited domestic abuse specialist and Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd are also members of the East Herts and Broxbourne Domestic Abuse Forum.

For more information and support contact us on 01992 558411 or complete our online enquiry form.

 


The one time you should look for the price tag on that gift

The Bribery Act ushered in a stricter anti-corruption regime when it came into force in 2011 and although Christmas gifts and hospitality are not banned, it’s important that companies don’t splash out and end up in deep water with over-generous Christmas gifts

 If you’re worried there are too many bottles of wine bearing “Happy Christmas” messages from your suppliers, it’s worth checking out the facts and making sure staff know the right and wrong way to go about corporate gifting.

The Bribery Act came into force in 2011, simplifying and consolidating existing law on corruption and creating a new crime of failing to prevent bribery. When it became law, many commentators thought it might end all corporate hospitality. That wasn’t the case, with the Ministry of Justice’s later guidance saying: “hospitality is not prohibited by the Act”, but any gifts must be reasonable and proportionate. So companies who splash out and are over-generous in their gifting could find themselves breaking the rules and getting both themselves and the recipient into deep water.

In simple terms, bribery is defined as giving or offering a person a financial or other advantage with the intention of inducing them to act improperly. It is also a crime to ask for or to receive an inducement in return for acting improperly.

Said Donna Bromyard, corporate expert with Hertford solicitors Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd: “When it comes to gifts or any form of hospitality, the simplest thing is to have a clear threshold that’s appropriate to the sector you’re operating in, whether giving or receiving.  Then, if anything offered has a value beyond that, employees must obtain permission.  It’s also sensible to make sure everything, however small, is logged in a central register.”

As well as looking at the price ticket on gifts or hospitality, companies also need to demonstrate that they are doing it with the right intentions. A gift given at Christmas-time is less likely to be problematic than something offered during contract negotiations or when an extra invoice has been submitted.  Similarly, hospitality that doesn’t involve any opportunity for business development on the part of the giver is likely to raise questions.

Added Donna Bromyard: “Entertaining your customers at a Christmas party, or providing a modest bottle of wine, is unlikely to cause problems.  But if you offer a pair of theatre tickets and a dinner reservation for two at a posh restaurant to a key contact and their spouse, that is much less likely to pass the “reasonable and proportionate” test. Where there’s a clear opportunity to promote the company supplying the hospitality, it’s more likely to be seen as reasonable business development.

“Preventing bribery is important for any business, whatever their size, and every company must demonstrate they are taking it seriously. That includes undertaking risk assessments, making sure staff know the procedure, and setting everything out in writing.”

Since the introduction of the Bribery Act, the Serious Fraud Office has shown a tough attitude to enforcement and seeking out corruption. In one recent high profile case, construction and professional services company Sweett Group PLC was ordered to pay £2.25 million as a result of a conviction arising from a failure to prevent bribery taking place. A subsidiary company in the United Arab Emirates had made corrupt payments to an individual with the intention of influencing the awarding of a building contract in Abu Dhabi.

www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/bribery.htm

Our Business Services Department at Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd is able to offer a full range of advice and services to business. For information and advice in relation to the above or any other issue affecting you or your business contact us on 01992 558411.

 

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This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.