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What if we disagree?
A Specific Issue Order (aka Section 8 Order) is used when people with parental responsibility disagree on decisions regarding the child. A specific issue order can resolve disputes for issues such as religion, name changes, education, holidays, and healthcare.
Who has parental responsibility in an unmarried couple?
The birth mother is automatically granted parental responsibility. If they’re married or in a civil partnership, their partner will be too.
If unmarried, the father or birth mother’s partner can be registered on the birth certificate, and this grants them parental responsibility.
How can unmarried parents gain parental responsibility?
There are a few ways to gain parental responsibility if you aren’t a married couple or biologically related to the child. These include:
- Registering as the parents on the child’s birth certificate
- Creating a parental responsibility agreement
- Applying to the court for a parental responsibility order
- Applying to the court for a ‘live with’ order
The best way for you to gain parental responsibility will differ depending on your circumstances. Speaking to a solicitor early can help make your options clearer.
How many people can have parental responsibility?
Only two people can be legally classed as parents, but more than two people can have parental responsibility over a child. So, if you’re a step-parent, a guardian or in a polyamorous relationship then there are options for you.
Mediation isn’t necessary if you’re in an abusive relationship, going through bankruptcy or have other emergency orders in place.
Physical custody refers to who the child lives with on a daily basis, and this can be joint or sole between parents.
Joint means the child will spend a lot of time at each parent’s house.
Sole means the child will live with one parent, with the non-custodial parents gaining visitation.
Regardless of physical custody, each person will still have equal parental responsibility.
Legal custody affects parental responsibility, depending on whether joint or full custody is granted.
When one parent gains full custody, they will have sole parental responsibility. The other parent will have no rights over the decisions made about their child.
Full custody doesn’t mean that the other parent isn’t involved in the child’s life. They are often granted visitation rights.
Both parents will have parental responsibility and share custody of their child.