The answer to this will depend upon whether or not you have Parental Responsibility and the first question we will always ask is whether you where married at the time of the birth of your child or subsequently marry or is your name on the Birth Certificate? So, what is the significant of this?
Parental responsibility is defined as all of the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which a parent has in relation to a child and their property.
Not every parent has parental responsibility, however if your child’s other parent does have it, then you will be restricted as to what decisions you can make on behalf of the child without their agreement.
Who has parental responsibility?
A child’s birth mother will always automatically have parental responsibility. Parents who are married or subsequently marry the father also automatically has parental responsibility.
If you are not married, but your name is on the birth certificate, then you will have parental responsibility as well.
Parental responsibility can also be given to an unmarried father or same sex couple who was not named on the birth certificate by entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement.
What rights and responsibilities does parental responsibility grant?
If you have parental responsibility you can make decisions in respect of your child, including the following:
• Choosing the their education and school; • Choosing their name; • Consenting to medical treatment; • Taking your child overseas on holiday; • Deciding on your child’s religion.
However, everyone with parental responsibility has to be un agreement on these points for decisions to be made. You cannot act unilaterally.
What is someone with parental responsibility entitled to?
If you have parental responsibility, you are entitled to be consulted in respect of decisions that are made regarding your child. The parent with day-to-day care of the child will generally make many small decisions as to care without consultation, such as the following:
• What the child will do while with a parent; • Personal care issues; • Activities; • Meals; • Continuing general GP medical appointments although there would need to be consultation over any subsequent treatment that child may have to have such as an operation save of course in relation to emergencies where contact cannot be immediately made with the other parent.
What should Parents inform each other?
Parents should inform the other of the following decisions, but do not need to consult or obtain permission in respect of them:
• Booking a holiday or taking the children overseas; • Planned GP visits and the reason for the visit; • Emergency medical treatment.
When do I need permission or to consult with the other parent?
Some decisions require the other parent to be informed and consulted:
• Choice of school; • Planned medical or dental treatment; • Ending medication; • The date of school functions, so that both parents can attend if they wish; • The age that a child will be allowed to watch a film rated 12, 15 etc; • The contact schedule for holidays.
What can I do if I don’t have Parental Responsibility?
Parental Responsibility is often an issue we discuss in mediation. In essence it is important that you remain focused upon the best interests of your child when considering whether or not to agree to the other parent having Parental Responsibility and if your child sees that parent regularly.
Ask yourself would you want your child’s parent to be able to give consent to medical treatment in the event of an emergency. In the absence of Parental Responsibility then technically such consent cannot be given. So is this then potentially placing your child at risk?
The issue of Parental Responsibility is often raised in the context of the father’s name not being on the birth certificate where the parents were not married. In this context the question being whether or not the Mother will agree to the fathers name being placed upon the birth certificate. If the answer to this is yes then the father will automatically acquire Parental Responsibility. If no, then the father can seek to pursue this issue through mediation to try and reach an acceptable resolution or the courts for an order to this effect.
If you would like to speak to one of our expert family lawyer Mediators ring us on 07843265818 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can arrange an appointment to speak with one of our team here
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