The dissolution of a civil partnership or the breaking of a relationship is often a stressful process due to sheer nature of the situation. The process often becomes lengthier when the financial aspects have to be settled, alongside this the rights over children can often be just as lengthy if not more due to the sensitivity of the matter and the difficulty to agree terms. Often difficult decisions must be made regarding the children, the feelings towards the ex-partner may impact these decisions.
Therefore, there is a need for legal advice and understanding of the law in order to corroborate the matter and understand all the options available within law. Through the expertise of family lawyers, the process can become less stressful and with the client’s needs in mind, they will push towards an agreement.
Unmarried mothers gain parental responsibility over their children automatically within UK law. Whereas fathers do not have automatic parental responsibility over their children unless they are married to the mother. To gain parental responsibility as a father, they must jointly register the birth of their child. This means both the fathers and the mothers name go onto the child’s birth certificate. Jointly registering the child alleviates the stressful possibility of the father not gaining custody if the mother unexpectedly passes away.
In order for the father to be included on the birth certificate, this can be done by:
- Jointly registering the birth from the start.
- Going to court and using a court order to register the birth.
- Completing a statutory declaration of parentage.
Understandably, there’s a possibility parents can’t come to an agreement as to where the child should live. The decision is then taken to court where the child’s preference comes into consideration if they are deemed aware of understanding the situation (The age is considered to be 12-13).
At the age of 16 the child is able to decide where they want to live legally, unless a residence order is in place which must be respected until the child turns 18.
The legal rights of unmarried couples in regards to children can be quite perplex. Therefore, it is best to trust family lawyers with the matter to discuss the circumstances and options of the case.