Can my ex take my kids away?

MY husband and I broke up after eight years of marriage.

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We have two children, a girl and a boy, aged six and seven. I am in another relationship now, but my ex has said that he is now intending to fight for sole custody as he does not approve of me being with a "strange man" and says it will confuse our children to have another daddy.

AS long as you are a good, capable and loving mum, then your continued care of your kids is in their best interests. As a matter of observation of family relationships from years of legal practice, I can tell you that your ex's reaction is common: husband considers you some kind of property and is threatened by you with another man. Kids are generally not so daft that they get confused by a new relationship. If your husband is genuinely concerned about this, and not trying to maintain some sort of control, then he ought to take a step back - or better still, take advice. You don't need to agree his wishes.

MY son bought his own flat after he had been working for a few years and recently his girlfriend moved in and they now want a joint mortgage. In the event that things don't work out for them, what is his financial position?

YOU'RE being pessimistic - but practical. If the house is transferred into joint names for a joint mortgage she will be entitled to some share of it if they split up if it increases in value. Perhaps not half if there is already an equity value in it, but half of the increase from the date of joining in.

I WANT to ensure my dad's house goes to my children when I die. He is leaving it to me, but my lawyer says I cannot leave it to my children in advance.

IF you die before your father then he cannot leave his house to you as you have already passed away and thus cannot "receive" it. Best thing to do is chat to dad to see if he will agree to leave the house to your kids in the event that you die before he does. But it is his choice alone.

I WAS in a supermarket, and someone had spilled oil on the floor. My son slipped and banged his head and got cut. I complained and the store offered us a £20 voucher, but I feel they should pay compensation, not least because we were left to wait for ages for a first-aider.

THE basis of a claim and the after-accident care are two separate matters. Only the question of their negligence before the fall is relevant legally. The store has a duty to keep the place safe for users. They must regularly patrol, inspect and clear/clean if something is spilled. However, they are not required to be all-seeing, so you would need to prove they either failed to carry out a safe system of checking, or failed to clear up immediately once they knew of the spill. You cannot get substantial compensation for a poor follow-up by staff.

Families

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