By Laura Milburn, Barnes Family Law
Although it is hoped that parents will not need to attend court regarding issues relating to children, it is nevertheless important that all parents are aware of the issues relating to Parental Responsibility.
A mother has parental responsibility from a child’s birth. A father usually has parental responsibility for a child if they are married to the child’s mother or listed on the child’s birth certificate. The date of a child’s birth can affect whether or not the father has parental responsibility. It is always best to seek professional advice.
Parental Responsibility means that a parent has a say in important decisions in a child’s life, such as where they go to school, medical treatments, and whether a child’s name can be changed.
In relation to schooling, some education boards have differing rules, and when a child has one primary carer, it is sometimes technically possible because of a schools procedure, for a parent to change the school of a child without the consent of the other parent. This however should not happen and one parent should not change a child’s school without the consent of the other, even if they are technically able to do so.
The parent wishing to change the school should make an application to the court if both parents cannot agree. This would be an application for the court to deal with the specific issue of schooling. If you are the parent who does not agree and you are worried that it is not in your child’s best interests for them to move school, then it is possible to make an application to the court to prohibit the school move. Again, it is always best to seek advice before making such an application.
When both parents have Parental Responsibility, permission to remove a child from the country should be sought from the other parent. Where one parent has the benefit of a Residence order (or an order that a child lives with them) then that parent is able to take the child out of the country for a period of up to 28 days.
How to get Parental Responsibility
If matters are agreed, a parental responsibility agreement can be drafted and sent to the court for approval. If matters are not agreed an application can be made to a Judge.
If you require assistance on any issue relating to Parental Responsibility or any questions about how this may relate to you or your children you should contact a solicitor.