We can assist parents where there are disputes about children after relationship break downs, whether or not the parents are married.
Parental responsibility governs the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities, and authority in relation to a child. It confers legal status in issues of the child's health, education and welfare.
- A mother has parental responsibility automatically
- Parental Responsibility is retained even if the parents separate and regardless of who the child lives with
- A father of a child born after 1st December 2003 (who is named on the birth certificate and was present when the birth was being registered) shares parental responsibility with the mother
- Otherwise a father does not acquire it unless:
- The parents of the child are married
- The parents enter a Parental Responsibility Agreement
- A Court makes a Parental Responsibility Order
- Step-Parent Parental Responsibility Agreement
- Any other person who is granted a Residence Order by a Court will also be granted parental responsibility for so long as the Residence Order remains in force
The old concepts of Custody and Access to Children have been replaced since the Children Act 1989 with:
- Contact Order - to resolve how often and for how long a child should have contact with the parent he or she doesn't live with
- Specific Issue Order - to resolve a particular issue about how a child is to be brought up if the parents can't agree
- Prohibited Steps Order - to prevent a parent with parental responsibility (or someone else) from acting in a particular way towards a child
- Residence Order - to decide where a child should live, if the parents can't agree
An unmarried father may apply for any of the above orders whether or not he has parental responsibility so long as he is the biological father.
In any dispute over a child, the Court will treat the welfare of the child as its paramount consideration so a Court Order would only be made if it is in the best interests of the child to make an order.