Issues regarding the children are often the most worrying and at Watson Ramsbottom we pride ourselves on finding the best possible solution to your situation in the quickest time possible. Often we will make an emergency application regarding the children the same day so as to ensure the best interests of the children are protected. We will ensure that you are kept fully informed and always take your concerns seriously – you are best placed to know what is best for your children after all.
We have fought and succeeded for many clients in this area including mothers, fathers, grandparents, step-parents and other family members in relation to Contact (formerly access) including enforcing contact orders and preventing contact, Residence (formerly custody), Prohibited steps, Specific issue orders, Child abduction cases, Permission to remove from the jurisdiction and Change of name applications.
Parental responsibility allows a parent to make important decisions for a child such as which school they should attend, what surname they should have and to give consent to medical treatment. It is a concept involving the status of a parent. It is generally only an issue where the parents of children have not been married. The mother of the child automatically has parental responsibility for her child. However the father of the child does not automatically have parental responsibility.
Where a child is born before 1st December 2003 and the parties are not married, the father does not automatically acquire parental responsibility.
Where a child is born after the 1st December 2003, the father will automatically acquire parental responsibility, but only where he is registered as the child’s father on the birth certificate.
Where the father does not have parental responsibility, the father and mother may agree that the father has parental responsibility and enter into a formal agreement confirming this. However, if it is disputed, the father may have to apply for a Parental Responsibility Order. It is also possible in some cases for the non parental carer (e.g. grandparent) to obtain Parental Responsibility. As in all other cases, the interests of the child will be regarded as of primary importance in determining whether such an Order should be made.
Financial maintenance is very rarely dealt with by the court. You can use the Child Maintenance Calculator on the www.gov.uk website at this link to calculate a maintenance estimate. Please contact us if you require further advice.