When a relationship breaks down, often one of the hardest things to agree upon are the arrangements for the children. Where are the children going to live and when should they spend time with each of their parents?
The Courts are reluctant to make orders in respect of arrangements for children. Generally, it is believed that the children’s parents should know what is best for their children. However, where agreement is not possible the Court can make a variety of orders, orders that state:
- where a child will live
- how much time he or she will spend with each parent
- to prevent an action being taken i.e. the removal of a child from the country
- to deal with a specific issue i.e. in relation to a child’s education, in relation to a child being removed permanently from the jurisdiction to live in another country
Parental responsibility legally recognises a parent of a child. It gives a parent the right to make decisions about a child’s welfare and to be consulted on important issues i.e. medical treatment or schooling. Parents can operate parental responsibility jointly or make decisions on their own save for two exceptions: a parent cannot:
- remove a child from England and Wales
- change a child’s surname
without the permission of every person with parental responsibility or an order of the Court.
A parent of a child born within a marriage has parental responsibility as of right.
In relation to unmarried couples, a mother will automatically have parental responsibility. In respect of any child born after 1st December 2003, a father will automatically have parental responsibility provided his name is on the birth certificate as the father of the child.
A father can obtain parental responsibility through a formal agreement or an order of the Court.
Our experienced family lawyers can help you by giving you the right advice and guidance to deal with these matters by agreement. Where agreement cannot be reached, we can also help you to take the most appropriate legal route.