When parents divorce or separate it is sadly often the children who suffer the most. Whatever your feelings, it is really important to put your children’s needs first and avoid them being caught up in conflicts and arguments.
Our children law solicitors are represented on the Law Society's Children Panel and are accredited Resolution specialists. We work with parents, children, families and the courts to help resolve childcare arrangements quickly. The welfare of children is foremost and at all times our children law solicitors keep the child’s interests at the centre of all their actions and advice.
Child Custody and Parental Responsibility
The terms "child custody" and "access" are no longer used officially or legally to describe which parent the child or children live with and how often the other parent sees them.
Parental Responsibility is the legal term used to describe the rights and duties that parents have towards their children. For example, it gives you the right to authorise medical treatment for your child or choose the school he or she attends. When a child is born the mother automatically has parental responsibility. The father does also but only if:
- He is married to the mother at the time of birth or subsequently marries the mother; or
- in the case of children born after 1st December 2003 if he is registered as the child’s father on the birth certificate.
However, an unmarried father of a child can obtain parental responsibility by marrying the child's mother, registering a parental responsibility agreement with the mother, or obtaining a court order.
The father will not lose parental responsibility if he gets divorced, and he will carry on being the child's full legal parent whether or not the child lives with him.
For a Parental Responsibility Application form or for further information visit Her Majesty's Courts Service website.
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