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Both partner have parental responsibility for any children that have come as a result of the marriage in the case of a divorce. This is not the case for couples who are unmarried. Legally only the mother is given rights automatically when the relationship breaks down. If a child was born after December 2003, and the father is named on the birth certificate, then they are able to obtain parental responsibility. Another way for fathers to be granted parental responsibility for a child is when they have signed what is known as a Parental Responsibility Agreement. A Parental Responsibility Agreement can be entered into any time during or after a relationship and can even be enforced by courts in the case of the separation of a couple.
Child arrangements do not have to be settled in court in the UK. These arrangements, which were known as residence and contact arrangements, must only be settled in court if the couple are unable to come to an agreement outside of the courtroom. Couples can avoid the stress and cost of court proceedings by agreeing on how much time each parent will spend with the child, as well as where the child will live.
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It can be hard to know what the best solution is for your child. There are a number of things that you have to think about when you are considering your child.
You must first consider who will be able to spend the most time with the child. If both parents work, it is important to establish who will be able to spend the most time with the child and on what day. An agreement must be arranged where the child spends as much time with a parent as possible.
Children are not objects and must not be treated as such. This means that children should not have to travel unreasonable distances in order to satisfy the wish of a parent. They should be based in a location which has them close to school, family and friends, and should not be made to travel long distances frequently.
It is important to think about how you will keep in contact with you child if you are not living with them. This is sometimes down to how you keep in contact with your ex-partner, not only in getting access to speak to the children, but in decisions over their care. If the relationship ended in a bad manner and you are unable to speak to your ex-partner face-to-face, try using emails, texts and other family members and friends as a means of contact.
It is important to remember that the child is the most important person in this scenario, and you must think carefully about how any decisions made by you will impact them.