29 November 2012
Family Law Solicitor Cara Nuttall settles the legal dispute in Coronation Street with Tyrone's right to Parental Responsibility
Over the last 2 days, I have been accosted by various people anxious about Tyrone's legal rights in regards to his daughter, Ruby, after Kirsty threatened that he'll never have legal rights in relation to her unless he marries her. It seems Kirsty' s scheming plan has caused confusion for many as to what legal rights a father has in regards to a Child, when he is not married to the mother.
The 'legal rights' in dispute between Tyrone and Kirsty are in fact the rights and responsibilities termed in law asParental Responsibility. It is only through having Parental Responsibility that a parent has a say about important matters affecting the child's upbringing, such as where he or she will live or attend school, along with what medical treatment the child should or should not have, and what religion, if any, they are raised under. Without Parental Responsibility (or PR) a parent is also not entitled to receive information from agencies such as schools and doctors.
Kirsty has PR by virtue of having given birth to the child, as all birth mothers acquire Parental Responsibility automatically, by operation of law. As many people will now have realised however, it's a bit more complicated for poor Tyrone.
As viewers know, Kirsty refused to put Tyrone on the birth certificate in a deliberate decision to withhold PR from him. Had he been on the birth certificate, he too would have acquired PR for Ruby automatically. Last night, viewers saw Kirsty demand a proposal from Tyrone, attempting to blackmail him into marrying her on the basis it would finally give him the legal rights he craves, and warning him that if he didn't, he would never have any rights towards Ruby and there would be nothing he could do. It's this threat that has lead to a confused queue forming at my desk this morning.As a biological father, Tyrone would indeed acquire PR by marrying Kirsty, but that it is not the only way he could do so. Further, if Kirsty goes on to marry someone else, that person would not, as Ruby's step-father, automatically get PR for just by virtue of the marriage, so don't worry Tyrone-ites!
If Tyrone sees sense and withholds a ring, he could still get PR for Ruby by making an application to the court or, if Kirsty were having an unusually pleasant day, by completing a standard Parental Responsibility Agreement. Regardless of whether he gets PR (or how) Tyrone could also still in any event make an application for contact with Ruby, so the idea that if he leaves Kirsty he'll be out of Ruby's life for good with nothing he can do about it, is wrong.Hopefully this sets minds at rest. Let's just hope Tyrone is reading…!
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