When families separate, the most emotive subject is how to agree upon 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 the children, as it is generally agreed that the children’s parents should know what is best for them. However, it is not always possible for parents to agree upon the arrangements for their children, and when this occurs, specialist and focused legal advice is required.
The court has the power to make a variety of orders relating to children, to include;
- Where a child / children will live;
- How much time the child / children will spend with each parent;
- To prevent an action (such as the child being removed from the country);
- To deal with a specific issue (such as a child’s education).
Parental Responsibility legally recognises a parent of a child. It gives a parent the right to make decisions about a child’s welfare and the right to be consulted on all important issues, such as medical treatment and schooling. Parents are able to operate Parental Responsibility jointly, or make decisions on their own, save for two exceptions;
- Removal of a child from England and Wales;
- Change of a child’s surname.
Every individual with Parental Responsibility must provide consent to either of the above, and in the absence of such consent from each person with Parental Responsibility and order of the court must be sought.
‘When does a person have Parental Responsibility?’
A parent of a child born within marriage has Parental Responsibility as of right.
In relation to unmarried couples, a mother automatically has Parental Responsibility. In respect of any child born after 1st December 2003, a father will automatically have Parental Responsibility provided that they are named on the birth certificate as the father of the child.
A father that does not automatically have Parental Responsibility can acquire PR in one of two ways; either through a formal agreement, or by order of the court.
Our experienced family lawyers can guide you through the process