What Are My Rights as a Parent?

Date: June 17th, 2014 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

Parents rightsA great concern for divorcing couples with children is the welfare of their child or children. Despite the spousal relationship breaking down, it is crucial that there are minimal repercussions on the comfort, care and contact with the child. Resident parents (who the child lives with) face an increase of financial concerns whilst non-resident parents feel the pain of separating from their child due to a decrease of contact time.

A Custody Court Order is an option if child arrangements cannot be decided between the parents. Such an Order includes parenting plans or visiting schedules which must be adhered to by both parents. It also allows both parents to equally contribute to the emotional, physical and financial aspects of their child’s life, as well as ensuring the child has sufficient time with each parent.

When attaining a Court Order, it is important to stick to it, whilst maintaining a degree of flexibility and an amicable relationship with your ex-spouse for the sake of your child, at least. Keep communication open and be flexible about re-arranging visits, although do acknowledge the rights of each parent as stated in the Order.

The law allows parents to bring up their children as parents see fit, following their own beliefs, religions and values, provided that the child is not in any way at risk. A parent has the right to determine their child’s name, religion, form of education and healthcare, as well as being entitled to accompany the child outside of the UK and agree on emigration issues. In cases where a child’s parents are divorced, the parental responsibility generally remains a joint responsibility, unless the child is subject of an Adoption Order. But parents must remember that wanting their own way is not the same thing as exercising a right. By all means, set limits, but be careful not to enforce rules; aim to guide rather than dictate.

Civil partners can acquire parental responsibility, provided the other party is in agreement, and this must be put in writing.

Sharing parental responsibilities requires both parents to consult each other on matters of importance concerning their child, regardless of their own relationship with each other. Remember that the child’s welfare is of upmost importance and that the divorce is a separate issue between two adults.

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