23 September 2013
Family Law Solicitor on Parental Responsibility - do you know your rights?
According to reports, Formula 1 heiress Tamara Ecclestone has made a “super-fast” start in her marriage to former City trader Jay Rutland by announcing she is pregnant with their first child, just weeks after their honeymoon.
The parties met nine months ago and married in June during a £3.5 million four-day party on the French Riviera. Tamara is now reported to be 14 weeks pregnant.
Jay, 32, has reportedly told Hello! Magazine that both he and Tamara are looking forward to this next step together after what has been an amazing year meeting and marrying his beautiful wife.
As the parents-to-be are married, upon the birth of their new arrival, father Jay will automatically have Parental Responsibility (PR) for their child. PR gives a parent all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authorities which by law a parent of a child has in relation to a child. There are two limbs to PR; responsibility towards a child and involvement with third parties.
As a Family Law Solicitor I tell my clients that responsibility towards a child includes such areas as involvement in a child’s education (entitlement to have a say in where and how a child is educated, receive reports and attend Parents’ Evenings), involvement in a child’s health (the right to consent to medical treatment), involvement in a child’s religion (a common law right to determine a child’s religious education), involvement in a child’s name (where both parents have PR, neither may change the child’s name without the consent of the other) and involvement regarding the removal of a child from the jurisdiction (the consent of everyone with PR is needed to remove a child from the jurisdiction, however if there is a Residence Order in place, the resident parent may take a child out of the jurisdiction for less than 1 month without the consent of everyone with PR).
Involvement with third parties includes being responsible for a child’s school attendance and being entitled to sign or oppose a passport application for a child.
A father not married to the mother at the time of a child’s birth will obtain PR by being named as father on a child’s birth certificate. Alternatively, a father can acquire PR by making a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the child’s mother in the prescribed form, by applying to the Court for a PR Order or by applying to the Court and obtaining a Residence Order.
By Family Law Solicitor Georgina Chase.