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Family Law

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Step-parents, parental rights and Family lawyers Guildford Surrey

Step-parents, parental rights and Family lawyers Guildford Surrey

If you are a step-parent looking for help with parental rights, then as expert Family lawyers in Guildford, we are well placed to help you through your case, advise you on your rights and answer any questions you may have.

What is Parental Responsibility?

Parental responsibility basically means the legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority a parent has for a child and the child’s property. You have a duty to provide a home and to feed and take care of the child in a safe environment. You are also responsible financially for them. Anyone with parental responsibility for a child has the right to make decisions about their care and upbringing. If two or more people share parental responsibility then any important decisions must be agreed by all of them. Important decisions will include things like, their name, where they will live, their religion, consent to leave the country (either for a holiday or permanently), or any medical decisions that need to be made. You are required to have parental responsibility to sign anything pertaining to the child, things like school trips etc, as without it you have no legal right to agree to anything on the child's behalf.

Who has parental Responsibility?
A birth mother will automatically have parental responsibility. A biological father will have parental responsibility if they are married to the child's mother at the time of the birth (or have subsequently married her), if he is named on the birth certificate (from 1st December 2003), or if he has a Parental Responsibility agreement or a court order which grants him parental responsibility. Also same sex partners who were civil partners at the time of the birth, or partners of mothers who are registered as the child's legal parent on the birth certificate will automatically have parental responsibility. If a child has a Legal Guardian, appointed in a will of a parent with parental responsibility, they will also assume full parental responsibility. If a child is in the care of a local authority (this is usually where a child has been through the care system) then they can share parental responsibility too.

Is it possible to obtain Parental Responsibility as a step-parent?
Yes it is possible to obtain parental responsibility as a step-parent. A step-parent will be classed as someone who is married, or in a civil partnership with the child's parent. You will not automatically assume parental responsibility by either marrying or entering into a civil partnership with a child's parent. Parental Responsibility can be obtained in a number of ways, including a Parental Responsibility Agreement, legally adopting the child, or a court order. As experienced family law solicitors in Guildford we can talk you through all the options and work with you to see which suits your circumstances the best.

To make a Parental Responsibility Agreement consent must be agreed by both the parent, that the step-parent is married to, or in a civil partnership with, plus the child's other parent, if they have parental responsibility. You will need to obtain a Parental Responsibility Agreement form from your local court. You must all sign the form at a court so it is witnessed by a court officer. You are required to use a separate form for each child and you will be required to show your marriage certificate to prove you are legally married to the child's biological parent. If the child's other parent has parental responsibility and does not agree that you should have it, then it can be incredibly emotive and unsettling for all involved. If you and your partner feel that it is absolutely in the child's best interests for you to have it, then you will need to apply for a court order to give you parental responsibility. As expert Family lawyers in Guildford we are best placed to discuss your individual circumstances with you and to help you make the right decisions for the well-being of you and your family.

What the Step-parent parental responsibility means.
It will give you all the same legal rights and duties, in relation to bringing up the child, as the birth parents. It will not give you a greater say in the child's life than the other parent, but you will have an equal say to them and can agree and object to everything exactly the same as they are able to. If you separate from the child's biological parent and move out, you do not have an automatic right to see, or spend time with, the child. You will not be removing parental responsibility from the other parent. You are not liable to pay maintenance for the child.

What if I want to end an agreement?
When you have parental responsibility it can only be ended one of three ways:
1, either by you, or any other person with parental responsibility obtaining a court order.
2, if the child applies for a court order (they will need permission of the court to do this)
3, it will naturally end once the child reaches 18 years of age.

For any queries you may have relating to any Family Lawyers Guildford Surrey issues, rest assured we have many years expertise in this field and will help you to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.

You will find us to be friendly, professional and thorough in liaising with you about your family law situation. We will gain a thorough understanding of the details important to you and will guide and support you throughout the process. We will keep you fully informed of the details at all times.

Our experienced Family lawyers Guildford Surrey, have earned an enviable reputation for achieving excellent results on behalf of our clients and have a wide area of expertise in dealing with all the complex issues surrounding family law.  We aim to avoid a lengthy and costly case at this time of heightened emotions and will always act with your best interests at heart.

Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors are expert family lawyers in Guildford who have proudly been helping individuals and families for many years to achieve positive and favourable solutions to their family law matters.

If you would like to speak with one of our specialist team please call us on 01483 826470



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