With the rise in the cost of living our colleague Zoe Hewines considers whether parents can ask the Court to insist driving and fuel costs are shared.
You don’t have to look far to see discussions on the cost of living crisis. People are having to stretch every penny they have and make them count. For some separated parents this means you may be considering if you can ask the court to insist that the other parent helps contribute to the cost of fuel to move your children from your home to theirs.
Agreeing to share your children’s travel costs
Whilst Court involvement is something you could seek; it is always worthwhile trying to come to an agreement outside of court first. You must consider whether the request is reasonable to ask of the other parent. For example, if you work a similar working pattern, earning a similar wage to the other parent and the care of your children is shared equally, then it may be unreasonable to ask for financial assistance for travel costs.
However, if you are in a situation where one parent is earning considerably more, you work vastly different shift patterns and the travel requirements mean you are having to pay out a reasonable sum of money to facilitate each contact, you may have grounds to seek some financial assistance from the other parent.
The children’s interests should always come first
Ultimately you must always be seen to be doing what is in the best interest of your children. Ensuring that your children have a meaningful relationship with both parents will always be actively encouraged by the court, and this should be what is in the forefront of your mind with anything which you are seeking from the other parent. You should have the question in the back of your mind; is this going to benefit the children?
If the answer to that question is no, then maybe that course of action should be reconsidered. Causing tension and hostility between yourself and the other parent should be avoided as this will impact your children’s wellbeing. Children benefit from seeing their parents being able to co-parent and it will significantly improve their emotional wellbeing if they are able to enjoy moving between their parents.
If you feel it will benefit the children, then it is certainly something which you can pursue, this can be done by written negotiations through your legal representative, mediation or indeed the court. Court should always be a last resort and you should consider the emotional and financial implications of making such an application. It could be that you end up spending more money on legal representation to obtain a small amount of financial assistance for travel costs.
The Court will consider the facts
The court would always consider the facts of each specific case and their needs, there are no hard and fast rules on child arrangements. You should be mindful that the court may not be inclined to make such an order; the court will do what they believe is in the best interest of the children by applying the Welfare Checklist which is set out in the Children Act 1989.
To discuss your agreeing to share your children’s travel costs or any child law issue please do get in touch.
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