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Parental responsibility

(30 Posts)
Chimpynoodle Fri 23-Feb-07 20:52:21

Hello mumsnetters. I'm new here, so greetings to you all, & I wonder if you could share your thoughts...
What do we think about parental responsibility? My partner & I split up 2.5 years ago; dd is 4 & a half. He was pretty vile initially, but I have bombarded him with niceness and reasonableness over time, he's realised that it's pointless to hate me & we now have something approaching equilibrium. He & his new wife, & baby daughter (born on dd's birthday last year, bizarrely)have dd to stay for one night most weekends - everyone seems happy with this: he & dd have the good relationship that I've always strived for (& it wouldn't have happened without my persistence), she likes new wife, is v. happy about baby sister & I get to have a social life - yippee!
Dd recently had an accident while staying at their house (that's another story that I won't bother going into now for fear of you all chewing your own legs off by the time you get to end of this) resulting in her being taken to A & E. At this point, ex partner brought up the subject of parental responsibility.
Now, I suggested that we sort this out at the point we split up, but he clearly didn't have a clue what I was talking about then & didn't bother finding out. As I'm going to be going on holiday to Asia in a few weeks time, he quite sensibly mentioned that someone would need to be able to make decisions re. medical treatment etc in my absence.
While he's absolutely right, I'm not sure whether I feel comfortable about giving him more "rights" - I don't consider him to be particularly intelligent, he's very easily influenced & led by others, I'm not always happy about his parenting of dd (lots of presents, sweets, sitting in front of the TV at their house) & most of all, I don't want to get into a situation in the future where I have to fight him for what I consider dd's best interests.
But notwithstanding all that, does he have a 'moral' right to parental responsibility, & is it fair on dd for me to restrict it? Am thinking about giving it to my mum or sil instead - am I allowed to that? & is it worth antagonising the ex when I've worked so hard to get where we are now? Sorry about lengthy rambling.

snowwonder Fri 23-Feb-07 20:58:04

i am no expert but if he is on the birth certificate think he may be entitled to it, (not sure though may be best to google it)

I think all said and done (i have been to hell and back with my ex) he need to have parental respon as like he said if anything happend to her in your absense he would be the one needing to make possibly life threatening desicions,

and i think if he took you to court to get parent responsibilty he would get it as he has dd one a night a week,

hope it works out for you- i do know how hard it is

Chimpynoodle Fri 23-Feb-07 21:19:17

Thanks Snowwonder. Yes, it's the life threatening decisions bit that's so difficult... that's why I'm considering my mum or sister in law instead - they know how I think, share my philosophy (that sounds so poncy, sorry) and respect how I parent dd. He doesn't give a f* what I think, and as I say, is easily influenced...

I think the law changed in 2003 re. unmarried father automatically gaining PR. As dd was born 2002 I believe he has to get me to sign something. He's far too lazy to bother going to court.

Surfermum Fri 23-Feb-07 21:36:00

My dh has it for his dd. For him it's been helpful as he's been able to talk to her school and doctor directly, get information about parents' evenings, school reports, stuff like that. And, as your x has already pointed out, if dsd were staying with us and were taken ill or had an accident dh would be able to sign for her treatment, rather than wait for her mum to drive the hour and a half journey - with her maybe in pain or needing stitches.

It's not really about having "rights" and taking day to day decisions away from you. In practice it has meant very little for dh - his x has still made all the major decisions about dsd - changing schools, being christened, moving, without involving dh (even though he is supposed to be).

I think you should let him have it, I really don't think it's worth antagonising him over this.

bonkerz Fri 23-Feb-07 21:42:05

Dh applied for parental right for DSD last year. Very easy to do and very cheap and really does just make things more secure in the unit and for DSD too.

Whoooosh Fri 23-Feb-07 21:42:36

If he is named on the birth certificate then he automatically has parental responsibility.....sad but true unfortunately as am going through trying to get pr for dp.

bonkerz Fri 23-Feb-07 21:43:49

not automatic for children born before 2002/03 though. DSD born in 2001 and DH had to apply for rights.

Whoooosh Fri 23-Feb-07 21:54:19

Oh sorry-dd was born in 05 so only know "current/recent" rulings.

gothicmama Fri 23-Feb-07 21:57:32

you could sign a medical consent form to cover emergency treatment whilst you are away instead of PR and give it to whoever is looking afetr dd

brandy7 Fri 23-Feb-07 22:00:22

my ex was given PR when my ds was 14months old in 2005 and hed only had contact for 6weeks! he went to court and got it and i didnt sign a thing . i only found out last xmas so he hadnt used it anyway!

if your daughter needs an anaesthetic he wouldnt be able to give permission for it. it should give him a say in which school she goes to and her religion. from the forums i go on the dads have it but dont use it. id give it to him to save the agro

Twinklemegan Fri 23-Feb-07 22:15:43

Sorry, I'm sure this will be unpopular on Mumsnet, but if he's paying you maintenance and looking after your dd regularly then he is perfectly entitled to have parental responsibility. And like others I think it's automatic these days.

PrincessPeaHead Fri 23-Feb-07 22:23:26

chimpynoodle you don't have any say in the matter. you don't get to "GIVE" it to anyone.

if you both agree, he will apply to the court and get it with a consent order.
if you don't agree he will apply to the court and get it by a court order.
it is almost unheard of for a father who applies NOT to get parental responsibility.
Also you know that he DOES have a moral right to parental responsibility, he is her parent.

your mother and SIL have no right to parental responsibility. they would have to apply to the court, who would only give it to them in very limited circs - eg it would come in conjunction with a residence order granted to them over your children

This isn't a battle worth having - either morally, or practically, because you can't win it. And nor should you.

simplycontrolfreaky Fri 23-Feb-07 22:30:57

if you were never married and dd was born before 1/12/03 and you have not entered into a parental responsibility agreement in the prescribed form and a court has not made an order giving him pr then he does not have it at the moment.
if he applied to court he would almost certainly get it (he has shown committment etc)
if you choose to agree to him having pr you can enter into an agreement which has to be registered. try cab for advice.
if he gets pr it gives him joint decision making power re significant decisions for dd (elective medical treatment / choice of school etc). it doesnt give him the right to interfere with day to day decisions of the primary carer (you).
you cannot give pr to yourr mum or anyone else (save now stepfathers can be granted it) but you can delegate your pr to another.... ie if you left dd with granny for 3 weeks and went abroad you could put in writing that she held your pr for that period.... or you could do that for him.
does that cover it?

Aloha Fri 23-Feb-07 22:31:08

If he wants it he can get it with our without your consent. No court would refuse it to him. It won't change anything for you, but will create resentment if you force him to go to court. I'd just sign the papers tbh.

Chimpynoodle Fri 23-Feb-07 22:31:10

Thanks all
I think the emergency medical consent form could be the way forward & I'll definitely look into this & put it him when we meet next week.
I just feel really wobbly about this, having put every ounce of heart & soul into ensuring all is well for dd with absolutely no support - just antagonism - from him for such a long time. When it came to choosing a school, I asked him to be involved, as it felt like such a big decision for me on my own, but he couldn't be bothered and admitted as much. Not really the actions of an involved & caring parent. I can't help feeling that he's forgone his "right" to this due to some of his (truly awful but can't go into detail here) actions in the past - which I've tried to put behind me for the sake of ensuring dd has a relationship with her dad. So all v. difficult. But it's a good reality check to hear from some stepmamas as well.. so thanks. x

simplycontrolfreaky Fri 23-Feb-07 22:32:07

x posts pph... are you a family lawyer (too)?

Chimpynoodle Fri 23-Feb-07 22:43:05

Simplycontrolfreaky, that's really clear & helpful. Thanks. He wouldn't bother going to court, I'm sure of it. But all this advice does point to just co-operating for the sake of maintaining a smooth relationship between us all, which does make complete sense.

PrincessPeaHead Fri 23-Feb-07 22:56:31

lawyer yes, but nothing as useful as a family lawyer sadly
still I didn't do too badly did I?

simplycontrolfreaky Fri 23-Feb-07 22:57:38

extremely well i'd say!
what sort of law are you?

PrincessPeaHead Fri 23-Feb-07 22:59:34

the jolly useful telecoms and IT regulatory and commercial kind. anyone want a interconnection agreement?

simplycontrolfreaky Fri 23-Feb-07 23:03:48

ooh. have a good friend who is lawyer at offcom

PrincessPeaHead Fri 23-Feb-07 23:07:32

poor bloody sod

ex client of mine has just been made DG of Ofcom. now THAT is worrying. couldn't make a decision to save his bloody life.

PrincessPeaHead Fri 23-Feb-07 23:08:04


simplycontrolfreaky Fri 23-Feb-07 23:09:27

must be my mates boss then? she is dead feisty. will knock him into shape.

PrincessPeaHead Fri 23-Feb-07 23:13:05

yes he needs that. needs to be told what to do, then panic wildly for a while, then make a decision at the last second....

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