Breaking up is hard to do and it may come as a surprise to you that an unmarried father does not automatically have parental responsibility if his child is born before 1 December 2003 (or 4 May 2006 in Scotland). However, an unmarried father may obtain parental responsibility in various ways, including:
On a father's application for parental responsibility, the court will consider:
Parental responsibility means that you should be consulted in relation to issues regarding a child's welfare such as a change of name, the need for any medical intervention and the child's education. Any dispute as to how parental responsibility is exercised could involve you having to make an application for a specific issue or prohibited steps order.
If you would like us to assist you in making an application for a specific issue or prohibited steps order. to change your child's name please contact us on 07940 384785.
A child's surname must be registered at birth by law. It is the mother's responsibility where the parents are unmarried to ensure that the child's birth is registered. A child's surname can be changed after registration by deed poll or, informally, by use of a different name. If more than one of you has has parental responsibility, neither of you can change the child's name without consulting the other. If a Child Arrangement Order in respect of who the child is leaving with is in force, then it will be necessary to make an application to change a child's surname. In all other circumstances the application should be for a specific issue order. Remember a change of surname will only be ordered if a Judge considers that it is the best interest of the child.
The court will take into the following things when considering whether a child's name should be changed:
If you would like us to assist you in making an application to change your child's name please contact us on 07940 384785.
With regard to providing for your child/children, the statutory child maintenance scheme through the Child Support Agency (CSA) or the Child Maintenance Service has control to calculate maintenance where the parent who has the child living with them, the parent who does not live the child and the child all are resident in the UK. For your child to quality for statutory maintenance they must be under 16, or under 20 and receiving full-time educaton.
If you want to make an application for a maintenance assessment to the Child Maintenance Service then there is a fee of £20 is payable. Though, of course, it is less stressful and cheaper to try to reach a voluntary parental agreement.
The court has jurisdiction to make child periodical payments orders in circumstances including where:
A parent, step-parent, guardian or person named in a Child Arrangement Order as a person with whom the child is to live may apply for a of orders under the Childrens Act 1989 and if you are an older over the age of 18 can apply for periodical payments, normally for financial support for further education or vocational training, or if there are special circumstances that justify the making of an order.
You can also apply for a Lump sum orders under the Childrens' Act 1989 for:
There is no limit to the number of lump sum applications that can be made until the child reaches the age of 18.
This booklet on parenting may help you to be able to work through this process - Parenting Plan
We provide a number of legal letters, statements, documents, questionnaires and forms that are essential for taking legal action. We only charge a nominal fee for them as part of our committment to providing the most affordable service possible. If you need a form that is not listed, please contact us or call us on 07940 384785 and we will help you find what you need.