I have been asked by a number of unmarried fathers over the last couple of months whether they will have to marry their ex partner to gain legal rights to their child. And where has this notion come from? Coronation Street!
A plot involving Tyrone Dobbs and his abusive partner Kirsty has lead to confusion about how unmarried fathers gain Parental Responsibility (PR) for their child.
Kirsty, as the biological mother of Ruby (the couples young daughter), automatically has PR but the law is more complicated when it comes to Tyrone. Had he been named on the birth certificate (as the child was born after 1st December 2003) he too would have automatic PR. Kirsty however has not named him and he has been told by good friend Tommy that the only way to get PR now is to marry her.
As a biological father, Tyrone would acquire PR by marrying Kirsty, but it would be a far simpler solution to either make an application to the Court for both PR and access to Ruby or by completing a Parental Responsibility Agreement with Kirsty.
If paternity is called into question as a means of defeating his application for PR, a DNA test can be ordered by the Court and a declaration of parentage made.
So before all unmarried father’s start getting hitched to ensure they are involved in their children’s lives, it would be worth seeking legal advice to discuss the less controversial options available!
At Newtons, our family law team are all members of Resolution and offer a service tailored to meet your needs and expectations. Please call Lucy or Sam on 01423 789050 for an informal discussion about your situation.
The information contained in this article is intended for guidance only and is not intended to provide specific legal advice to you. Expert advice on any issue should always be obtained. Newtons Solicitors Limited does not accept liability for any loss that may arise from relying on or using the information contained in this article.