Contact Arrangements When Parents Are Not Married
If you separate from your partner and are not married but do have children, it’s important to gain a detailed and accurate understanding of what your responsibilities are as soon as possible.
Do you have parental responsibility?
In England and Wales, fathers have parental responsibility for their children if their name is on the birth certificate and the birth was registered after December 1st 2003 or if the parents have signed a Parental Responsibility Agreement. An absent parent may also be given a parental responsibility order by a court, or a Child Arranngements Order that says that the child can live with the father. A father will acquire parental responsibility if he marries the mother. Parents have responsibilities towards their children and children have rights to have a relationship with both parents.
Parental responsibility gives you the opportunity to be included and consent to important decisions regarding your child’s upbringing, even if they no longer live with you. This means having a say in issues like religion and medical treatment, though the parent who the children live with will have the final say on issues regarding their day-to-day life. A parent no longer living with their children will have a say on issues like changing schools, emigration, adoption and changing surnames as well as serious medical concerns. Your child may wish to make their own decisions on certain issues as they get older, which could mean your parental responsibility responsiblities become secondary to the child's own wishes.
If you are experiencing difficulties in arranging contact with your child please contact us for advice.
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