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Parental Rights Question

(17 Posts)
spacemonkey Mon 08-Mar-04 20:48:00

A good friend of mine lives with his girlfriend and their 3 yr old ds. They're not married, and to be honest she's a bit of a loony (IMO).

Can anyone tell me if he automatically has parental rights because his name is on the birth certificate, or will he need some sort of legal document giving him parental rights in the event of a separation?

Thanks in advance for any advice - I know there have been threads on this before but I can't find them

Galaxy Mon 08-Mar-04 20:49:56

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150percent Mon 08-Mar-04 20:50:55

This site might help. Looks from the age of ds that he would need a written agreement.

spacemonkey Mon 08-Mar-04 20:51:45

Thanks galaxy - I had heard that the law was going to change, but wasn't sure when or of the exact details. I've been encouraging him to do something about this, but he will insist on assuming that because he's on the birth certificate he will automatically have parental rights. I thought it was about time I found out what the score was!

spacemonkey Mon 08-Mar-04 20:52:14

excellent - am looking now, thanks 150percent

ScummyMummy Mon 08-Mar-04 20:54:08

He needs the legal document too, I think. Sobernow wrote a great post about the process somewhere and I keep meaning to get round to making my partner do it. Might be worth searching on her name for it. (Fully intending to stop mumsnetting and start reading the Quincunx in a min, btw!)

spacemonkey Mon 08-Mar-04 20:55:15

lol scummy

I'll have a look for that post - not sure if the search facility is fully operational at the moment tho

Freckle Tue 09-Mar-04 16:36:08

A legal document is only needed if the mother is not prepared to accord the father parental responsibility. She could do that in writing quite easily. If she doesn't, then the father will have to apply to the court for an order granting him parental responsibility - as he is named on the birth certificate, this is probably just a formality. To avoid the cost of applying through the courts (I'm assuming they are together, the ma and pa), he could just get the mother to put something in writing. I'm sure there is a standard statement somewhere they could use.

spacemonkey Tue 09-Mar-04 16:41:54

Thanks for that freckle. They are together at the moment yes. I'll pass this info onto him.

Loobie Tue 09-Mar-04 22:05:09

Im sure that if the mother and father are not married, even if he is on the birth certificate,he has no parental rights.My friend looked into this when she went for surgery(long story their not married,he's on certificate,they are now separated)A document can be drawn up between both parents giving parental rights all round,good if both parties still together but if apart he can apply to courts for rights.
P.S im in scotland so law may be differnet elsewhere.

libb Tue 09-Mar-04 22:13:05

I think it was the thread I started a little while ago (I miss the search engine!!) and as I seem to recall that the law changed as recently as December - I could be wrong.

I don't think he would have parental responsibility for his three year old and he would have to go to his local court to apply for the appropriate application form. I did manage to print one off from somewhere but I cannot remember where . . .

With this pregnant brain I am as much help as a chocolate fireguard! Please forgive me.

Tom Tue 09-Mar-04 23:01:55

Hi all
Can I clear this up?
The info is a bit confused on this thread - freckle is kinda right, but also kinda wrong.

The law has changed recently, so it's different if your baby was born after Dec 2003.

What I'll do is show you the ways that a father gets Parental Responsibililty for his child in both pre and post Dec 2003 scenarios:

1. Be married to the mother of the child
2. If not married when child is born, subsequently marry the mother of the child
3. If not married, both mother and father sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement (PRA) - you can download one here: (pdf format). This document contains instructions on what to do when it has been signed - ie. send it to the court.
4. If not married, and mother does NOT agree to sign a PRA, the father can apply to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order (PRO), which the court will grant if it considers the fathers' involvement to be in the best interests of the child.

1. Be married to the mother of the child
2. If not married when the child is born, subsequently get married to the mother of the child
3. Have your name on the birth certificate (THIS BIT IS NEW)
4. If not married and name is not on birth cert, you can both sign a PRA (see 3 above)
5. If not married, name not on birth cert and mother does not agree to sign a PRA, you can apply to the court for a PRO.

I'm sorry that's complicated, but the simple fact is that it IS complicated, and the government makes absolutely no effort to explain it or provide leaflets etc, so only a few specialists like family lawyers really understand it.

The best way to work out what your friend needs to do is to work through my list until you get to your 'case'.

Incidently, many fathers are nervous about asking their partner to sign a PRA, because they fear that they are suggesting that they may split up. In fact PR has more functions than just giving the father a voice in court proceedings following breakup - for example, if mother and child are in an accident, the father cannot give permission for a life saving operation on the child if he does not have PR - medical staff have to contact the maternal grandparents.

Hope this helps

spacemonkey Tue 09-Mar-04 23:03:40

Tom, that is absolutely brilliant - THANK YOU!

Tom Tue 09-Mar-04 23:18:42

My pleasure

spacemonkey Tue 09-Mar-04 23:20:42

I just signed up for your site in order to ask same question on your forum as well

Have forwarded the info to my friend and will be strongly encouraging him to act accordingly.

Tom Tue 09-Mar-04 23:27:33

I just noticed
Have posted the same reply there.

ElizabethPurley Wed 10-Mar-04 22:32:16

Just to add to Tom's point 3, post Dec 2003: "3. Have your name on the birth certificate (THIS BIT IS NEW)" Tom is right but the father MUST go to the registry office to register the birth in order for parental responsibility to take effect as a result of this change in the law - it won't happen just because a mother decides to put his name on the birth cert. also worth noting - if a couple have a child together, aren't married, but subsequently marry they need to re register the child's birth.

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