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Children Matters

In any divorce or relationship breakdown the children can suffer more than anyone else.

The main priority therefore should be how best to look after the children in a way which involves minimising the impact upon the childrens' daily lives. The law is very clearly based upon the rights of the children and not the parents. The welfare of the children are paramount.

If married both parties have parental responsibility which means they have rights in relation to the children's education, medical treatment etc.

Once a couple separates then the absent parent has rights to see the children regularly as well as those arising from parental responsibility.

If a couple were not married only the mother has automatic parental responsibility. The father only has parental responsibility if the child was born after 1st December 2003 and he is named on the birth certificate.

A father can secure Parental Responsibility by:

  • Marrying the childrens' mother.
  • Entering into a Voluntary Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother.
  • Obtaining a Parental Responsibility Order from the court.
  • Other family members who have been involved in the childrens' life will also have the right to have contact with them.

The main issues concerning children are the issues of contact and residence (with whom a child should live).

Whether married or not most parties can reach an amicable agreement with regard to these issues and lawyers can assist in reaching this agreement. If, however, an agreement cannot be reached lawyers can also assist in dealing with the appropriate application to the court to resolve such issues.

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