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Our expert divorce lawyers have listed questions which are commonly asked by our clients, to which we have provided an answer.
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Thoroughly excellent service provided via Wikivorce. Was slightly apprehensive of how it would all work, especially at a distance. However, they were swift, efficient, immensely polite, accurate, and gave regular updates. I would recommend them to anyone.
Can't fault my experience in any way. Brilliant advice / available at short notice for any questions and most importantly swiftly achieved the desired result. Found Austin Kemp after feeling HCB Solicitors were not acting in my best interests and I was correct on all fronts - even including having an appreciation for the fact Divorce is already emotional situation. Also, rather than have to query every suggested next step and be charged for the pleasure; As I'd done a little research of my own and was able to challenge their advice - however we pay Solicitors for their expertise and need to put our trust in them. Austin Kemp thankfully achieved that for me during our first conversation I was already reassured they understood what I wanted and how best to achieve it. Resulting in 7-8 months less work and no court appearances as I had been previously advised by HCB. I THANK YOU DEARLY AUSTIN KEMP. I can start my life again earlier and with a healthier bank balance because of you!!!
Amazing service. For the first time in nearly two years I feel less in a spiral and more in control.
Thoroughly professional, straightforward, timely and reasonably priced. I would recommend this firm to anyone. Thank you Emma and Austen Kemp for a great service.
Thank you so much. You were great. I wasted so much time and money with my previous solicitors and only regret I did not contact you earlier. I have dropped a line to Paul to thank him for referring me to you. I hope you enjoyed the red I sent you as a token of our appreciation.
Austin Kemp provides a pragmatic and honest approach to the individual's journey through Family Law issues. They demonstrate a willingness and capacity to respond to challenging and unpredictable circumstances. The professional, yet personal, service is naturally client centred, but with a realistic and informed view of children's needs. And it has been heartening to have such a caring team walk beside me in the long journey.
I cannot recommend highly enough Austin Kemp as a strong, commercially intelligent and the most effective negotiators. Their negotiation skills are second to none. I have seen firsthand the excellent results this team achieves for their clients.
Just want to say thanks so much for everything. You have been brilliant and very patient. I always felt comfortable calling when asking to clarify certain points of the divorce.
I can honestly say that I am more than satisfied with the management of my case and of my then state of mind. I highly recommend this firm. Thank you.
Amandeep Kooner was not prepared to be swayed from a path of professionalism to accommodate my anxiety and frustration. He would not succumb to taking instructions tit for tat response. He ensured at all times that the response he gave reflected a dignified client with a pleasant demeanour. In so doing he demonstrated his commitment to protect and secure my interests and dignity off which I am most grateful.
Although he has a dual approached role which is business and a duty of care, Amandeep Kooner showed concerns for the level of expenditure that I had already put out with no resolve. His team contained the work to the minimum and produced the maximum results. My case was quickly progressed without compromising compassion and understanding.
Very professional service! Explained everything they were doing for my case every step of the way and really helped me to understand how we would proceed. Thank you!
Intellectually bright, hardworking and extremely professional - Amandeep Kooner took my case at it most difficult as I had come to the end of my ability to remain calm and patient. Up until I instructed Austin Kemp, I had lost all hope that any solicitor could convince me in pursuing a non-retaliatory approach as I was losing ground to allegations and fabrications. Tough, hardworking and extremely professional.
Parental responsibility means the responsibilities and legal rights a parent has for a child. If you have parental responsibility, you are able to have a say in what happens to your child.
All mothers have parental responsibility. Normally, fathers have parental responsibility, too. In some circumstances, other people can also have parental responsibility. We will go into more detail about this in a little while.
A person with parental responsibility should protect and look after the child. They should also provide them with a place to live.
In addition, if you have parental responsibility, you are also responsible for everything from the child’s education to agreeing what medical treatment they can have.
Parental responsibility does not mean an automatic right to see a child.
What parental responsibility does mean is that, if there is a big decision to make about the child, all those with parental responsibility should have a say.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to get agreement to a decision in writing from everyone with parental responsibility.
For example, if one parent wants to move to Spain with the child, the other parent would have to agree to the move in writing. If the other parent won’t agree, it may be necessary to go to court.
More day-to-day decisions concerning a child don’t normally need the agreement of all parties with parental responsibility.
The child’s mother automatically acquires parental responsibility from the moment of the child’s birth.
Normally, fathers have parental responsibility if they are either:
• named on the birth certificate or
• married to the mother of the child
It is possible to make an application to the courts for parental responsibility.
In order to do this, you will need to be connected to the child in some way. For example, you could be the second female parent or the step-parent of the child.
The procedure for getting parental responsibility depends on whether the mother agrees to it or not.
If the mother agrees to you having parental responsibility and you are a father or a step parent, you can fill in a form to take to court in order to have it signed and witnessed. Be aware that there are two separate forms, depending on your relationship with the child.
If the mother does not agree to you having parental responsibility, it is possible to apply for a court order.
As always, it’s highly recommended that you seek legal advice specific to your circumstances. A family solicitor will be able to advise you on the best way to obtain parental responsibility and help you to complete any parental responsibility applications, to ensure that there are no mistakes which could cause unnecessary delays.
People with parental responsibility have a say in what happens to the child for whom they have parental responsibility. For example, if one person with parental responsibility wants to move abroad with the child, anyone else with parental responsibility would have to agree in writing. If the other person with parental responsibility won’t agree to the move, it may be necessary to go to court.
As a result, we are often asked whether it is possible to remove parental responsibility from someone. Usually, this request comes from a parent who is playing an active role in the child’s life, when the other parent is not. This leads to frustration that it is necessary to get the other parent’s consent for important life decisions.
If someone has been granted parental responsibility by means of a court order, this parental responsibility would only apply for as long as the court order remains in force.
It may be possible to make an application to remove someone’s parental responsibility.
However, the courts will only remove parental responsibility in extremely limited circumstances. This could be, for example, to protect a child from serious harm (either emotional or physical). It is very unusual for someone’s parental responsibility to be taken away from them.
The removal of parental responsibility is a highly complex area of law.
Previous cases where someone has been stripped of parental responsibility by the courts, include where a father had inflicted GBH (grievous bodily harm) to the child, a case where a father had been sent to prison for extreme domestic violence and another case where a father called his autistic son “retarded” and tried to delay the child’s medical treatment.
Most importantly, parental responsibility will not be removed simply because the parent is absent or will not see the child. Or indeed because the child does not want to see the parent.
The court may limit a person’s parental responsibility with a prohibited steps order or a specific issue order. These orders will not remove parental responsibility, but can limit the parent’s role in their child’s life (as long as it is in the child’s best interests to do so).
Removal of parental responsibility is reserved only for the most exceptional circumstances
The courts do not take away parental responsibility without extremely good reason, such as protecting a child from serious physical harm. Parental responsibility will only ever be terminated if the court thinks that it is in the child’s best interests to do so. It is important to reiterate that removal of parental responsibility is extremely rare.
If you want the other parent’s parental responsibility removed, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from solicitors experienced in this area of law, such as Austin Kemp, who can advise you whether it may be possible – and if not, what other alternatives may be available to you.
If you want to be included in important decisions about your child’s life, but don’t have parental responsibility, you may be able to apply to the court for an order called a “parental responsibility order”.
A parental responsibility order is a court order which unmarried fathers can make an application to the court for, if the mother does not allow the father to be named on the birth certificate. Alternatively, an unmarried father may apply for a parental responsibility order if the mother will not sign a parental responsibility agreement.
In some instances, unmarried fathers may not have parental responsibility (more about this on our parental responsibility page).
One of the ways an unmarried father may be able to obtain parental responsibility (if they don’t already have it), is to get a parental responsibility order from a court.
Parental responsibility is defined as:
“all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.
If you have parental responsibility for a child, the other parent must include you in important decisions about the child’s life.
Parents who do not have parental responsibility, may want to apply for a parental responsibility order.
Sometimes, however, it may not be necessary to go to court to get a parental responsibility order.
If you’re a father or a step parent, as long as the mother agrees, you can both complete a parental responsibility agreement, instead. This will need to be taken to a family court, where it will be signed and witnessed.
If the mother does not agree, going to court to ask for a parental responsibility order may be necessary.
As well as unmarried fathers, other people who are connected to the child, such as their step-parent, may be able to apply for a parental responsibility order.
It is worth noting here, that more than 2 people are able to have parental responsibility for a child.
If you want to get a parental responsibility order, you will need to apply to the court. The cost of a parental responsibility order is £215 at the time of writing.
In some circumstances, mediation (where an independent third party aids discussions between you and the other parent, with the aim of reaching an agreement) can help parents to reach an agreement about parental responsibility, without the need to go to court for a parental responsibility order.
As always, it’s highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a solicitor experienced in this area of law, before applying to the court for a parental responsibility order.
Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to parental responsibility, including:
For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email email@example.com.
Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:
Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW
Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR
Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP
Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL
Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY
Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB
Please contact us for more details.