Know your parental rights following a separation?

Parental Rights Following Separation

In the unfortunate circumstance of parental separation, the welfare of the children is paramount. In the best-case scenario, both parents can come, amicably, to an arrangement of joint custody or access.

However, as feelings can be running high at the time of separation, it is common for parents to fail to agree on mutual terms.

Who has parental responsibility?

Upon birth, a mother has automatic parental responsibility for her child.

A father will usually have parental responsibility if he is married to the mother of the child or if he is listed on the birth certificate.

An application for parental responsibility can be made if you do not have it through one of these means. An unmarried father can acquire parental responsibility if the mother signs an agreement or obtains an order from the court.

Parental Rights

The parent that does not live with the child, but has parental responsibility, does not have a say in the day to day decisions of the child’s life. However, the non-residential parent does have rights when it comes to important issues such as religion, medical treatment, emigration, changing schools or adoption. In matters such as these, the parents have equal rights.

The residential parent may take the child abroad for up to a month, without the other parent’s consent. The non-residential parent should obtain consent if they wish to take the child abroad or they may be deemed as having abducted the child.

End of parental responsibility

Parental responsibility ends when:

  • The child turns 18
  • The child marries at 16+
  • Your parental responsibility gained by birth certificate, order or agreement is ended by the court following a request from the other parent or the child

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