So, you have now gone through the assessment, possibly been to court, and the child’s living arrangements with you are finalised. Family life can be very busy and no doubt you want to get on with living together. For most of us, changes and unforeseen events will happen. So here’s a few final words on things to consider in the future.
If you continue to have children’s services involved in your life, you should inform them of any new person moving into your home. Adults may be required to have their criminal records checked.
If children’s services are no longer involved in your life, you take responsibility for any new person moving into your home in the same way that all parents consider the safety of new people around their child, as well as how you all get on together. Since 2011, adults in the UK can contact their local police force to enquire about new partners and new household members, under the child sex offender disclosure scheme. See information about the child sex offender disclosure scheme on the NSPCC website for more information.
In the event of a future separation or divorce where a court order was granted in joint names, the separation does not invalidate the order, both parties retain parental responsibility and can continue to make decisions about the child, but they cannot override each other if in conflict. Therefore in events where the carers are in conflict with each other in matters regarding the children, it may be necessary to return to court to vary the order or rule on a specific matter. A separation should prompt you to clarify legal matters such as who will be the child’s primary carer, what will arrangements for the child be, and review what you want to happen for the child in the event of your death or illness.
None of us like to think that we will become ill or not be here to look after a child in our care. However it is important that your wishes are legally recorded. This child’s legal status is not straightforward, and there may be several people with legal parental responsibility for them, so it is all the more important to have matters clarified.