You and the Law – 2nd February 2010

Paternity leave

My son has had a serious wrist injury, and my wife says she won’t take time off work to look after him.  Is there such a thing as paternity leave?  JA

There is such a thing as paternity leave, amounting to either one or two weeks off, but this must generally be taken within 56 days of the actual birth of the child.  Beyond that either parent can, if they have worked for their employer longer than a year, take a total of 13 weeks off work while their child is under five to look after them.  This is likely to be unpaid and you would have to give your employer notice.

In your situation you may have to use up your annual leave, or make alternative childcare arrangements.  Everyone is entitled to reasonable time off to cover emergencies involving relatives, but this would amount to a couple of hours only, rather than weeks.

Estate claim?

My father-in-law died three months ago, leaving his estate to my husband and his brother.  My husband and I have since started divorce proceedings, and I wondered whether I or my three children will have any claim on the estate?  DR

The money your husband inherited from his father may go into the pot to be divided along with the rest of your joint and individually-owned assets.
However this very much depends on your particular circumstances, and such money is often ‘ring-fenced’.

You should see a solicitor to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
Your children will be the court’s main concern in this respect but neither you nor they have a direct claim on your father-in-law’s estate.

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