Unmarried parents do not have the same rights as married couples. If the relationship breaks down, in relation to child custody unmarried couples may find they do not have a say in important issues such as where any children will live, on issues of contact or issues concerning medical treatment.
It is always preferable for the parents to come to an agreement concerning child custody without asking the courts to intervene, but this is not always possible.
Our team of family solicitors can advise you on the options available to you as a parent and help to resolve any issues that may arise in relation to child custody. We will make every effort to help you find an amicable solution without involving the courts. This includes mediation. However, if this is not possible we can prepare an application to the court where custody and contact will be decided.
Our experienced lawyers can also help with contact issues that may arise after a divorce has been finalised such as a parent wishing to move children to another part of the country, or even abroad.
Parental Responsibility can be a major issue for unmarried couples. Parental Responsibility is a legal term that allows parents to make major decisions on behalf of their children. Parental Responsibility is only automatically granted to:
- The woman who gives birth to a child, who is usually the mother, but not always, for example surrogacy arrangements
- A father who was married to the mother at the time of birth or subsequently
- A father named on the birth certificate of children born after December 2003.
In all other circumstances a father will not automatically have Parental Responsibility.
An unmarried father can obtain Parental Responsibility by:
- Entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the child’s mother
- Obtaining a Parental Responsibility Order from the court
- Obtaining a Residence Order from the court
Our experienced family solicitors can help guide fathers through this process and advise you on the best course of action.
We can also help stepparents, grandparents and other relatives who might provide day-to-day care in a kinship care situation to obtain Parental Responsibility. This can be done by obtaining a Residence Order or a Special Guardianship Order through the courts.