04 January 2013
Family Law Solicitor Edward Kitchen discusses Parental Responsibility
An article in today's Guardian newspaper highlights the potential difficulties faced by doctors when they are asked by Separated Parents to provide medical records for Children. The article refers to the well-publicised case of Neon Roberts, the young boy whose medical treatment became the subject of a High Court case last month. Whilst the article highlights the difficulties faced by GP's in particular, it draws attention to the whole subject of Parental Responsibility and what information can and cannot be passed to parents who do not have day to day care for their children. Parental Responsibility means that each parent has an input into a child's life and the "bigger" decisions which need to be made. Obvious examples include making decisions about medical treatment, education or religious upbringing.
Whilst Parental Responsibility is a right conferred upon married parents, it is not automatically the case for unmarried couples who have children together. It would seem obvious that, for any parent who has children in their care for any significant time, the ability to make "on the spot" decisions, is of crucial importance. Consider, for example, the case of a father who is having a weekend with his children whilst their mother is abroad for whatever reason. One of the children has an accident and needs an urgent operation. The father must be able to make decisions in such circumstances where it may not always be possible to contact the mother. This time of year is often associated with Separation, so for anyone finding themselves in this position and unsure of their rights and responsibilities, please come and talk to a member of our team. We can provide specialist advice as to exactly what rights parents have with regard to their children as well, of course, as other issues which inevitably arise.
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