FAQ Children

Q1. Do both a mother a father have parental responsibility?

A Mother is the only parent that has parental responsibility by way of birth right.

For children born before 1 December 2003

Unmarried fathers not listed on their child's birth certificate can get parental responsibility by:

  • Marrying the mother of their child
  • Obtaining a parental responsibility order from the court
  • Entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother in the prescribed form and having it recorded at court
  • Being appointed guardian upon the death of the mother
  • Obtaining a Child Arrangements Order residence order from the court

For children born after 1 December 2003

Unmarried fathers can get parental responsibility by:

  • Any of the above
  • Registering the child's birth jointly with the mother at the time of birth
  • Re-registering the birth if you are the natural father
Q2. What if mother and father agree on parental responsibility?

If a Mother agrees to a Father who does not already hold PR to have PR then they can re-register the birth of the child or complete a Parental Responsibility application form. A court hearing will not be necessary.

Q3. What if mother DOES NOT agree to parental responsibility?

Then the Father will want to consider applying to the Courts to make an application for PR.

Q4. What are the likely costs?

The application form fee for a PR Order is, £215.00.

Q5. What if I am on low income or unemployed, do I still have to pay Court fees?

If you are on a low income or in receipt of certain state benefits then you may be eligible to a disbursement. You will need to read and complete the EX150 Fee Remission Form.

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Q6. Will I have to go to Court?

Yes, if there is a contest this will need to go before a Judge.

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Q7. Can I stop my ex from taking the children on holiday?

The primary carer of the children can take them away on a holiday for no more than 4 weeks, any longer and permission must be obtained from any other persons that hold PR, if you do not have PR permission is not required. If you have concerns that your ex might be taking the children to a dangerous place, longer than 4 weeks or perhaps there are intentions to relocate then you can make an application to the Court for either a Prohibited Steps Order or a Specific Issue Order for this to be resolved.

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Q8. Who decides what days we have the children?

Ideally the Court want the parents to make this decision but if they cannot then the Judge will make this call.

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Q9. Who decides what school the children attend?

Again ideally the Court will want the parents to come to this decision but if they cannot then the Judge will make the decision that they consider to be in the best interest of the child.

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Q10. What is Mediation?

If you are in dispute with your ex, or are having difficulties settling your separation, you may be thinking about court proceedings. Before an application can be made to court, you are now required to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). The aim of the meeting is to see if mediation could be used to resolve your difficulties, rather than going straight to court.

Courts are required to know that mediation has been considered before they are able to proceed with your application and therefore you must ensure this is first considered and/or instigated before proceeding to Court for an Order.

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Q11. Who are CAFCASS?

Cafcass represents children in family court cases. They make sure that children's voices are heard and decisions are taken in their best interests.

They are independent of the courts, social services, education and health authorities and all similar agencies. They are often referred to as the eyes and ears of the Court from the perspective of the child and will be asked in many cases to prepare reports underlining the wishes and feelings of the children when there is a dispute between the parents.

Cafcass stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.

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