Natural instincts dictate that a child should be protected, and once you have a child, you are compelled to protect them with all of your life. But what should be done in cases where parents separate from each other? What is the right way to figure out which parent gets to keep the children in custody?
Having an ex getting to keep custody of your child could be a nightmare. This is usually why people call the local police to help them with their legal issues. But there is only so much the police can do. After all, it is complicated to determine who wins if both parents seemingly have equal parental rights.
To sort out these issues, the first thing we need to understand is who has the parental right in the first place. Once this is figured out, and one parent turns out to lack this very parental right, then the police can now intervene.
What Does Parental Right Entail?
It is the Children Act of 1989, also known as the Parental Right Act that defines the responsibility that the legal parent has the right, duty, power, and authority of ownership over one’s child. These are the responsibilities of the legal parent:
- They must provide the child appropriate housing.
- They must always protect and maintain their child’s health and wellbeing.
- They must provide suitable education to the child.
- They have the right to give their child a name.
- They must consent to any and all of the child’s medical treatment.
The child’s birth mother automatically assumes parental responsibility because theirs is the name written in the child’s birth certificate. The father gains parental responsibility either through marriage to the birth mother at the time of the child’s birth or through official documentation on the birth certificate. In some cases where paternity is in doubt, legal DNA testing may be required to confirm the biological relationship of the father.
What most may not be familiar about is the third option to gain parental responsibility. Both of the child’s parents can sign an official document that certifies a Parental Responsibility Agreement. This document should then be registered with a court official.
It is also possible for the father to apply to the courts for responsibility, which is common. He would need to fill in a C1 form, which can be found in the official Gov.UK website. He must also settle a fee of £215 to officially process this form. The father can avail himself of financial assistance if necessary.
Child Custody Arrangements
For child custody arrangements, first, the court will conduct research on which household benefits the child best. Aside from the primary household, the court can also determine which relatives are allowed to come into contact with the child as well as identify the limits of contact. This may include phone calls, letters, and personal visitation rights.
A parent with Parental Responsibility can apply for an order. This needs to be processed with the official Gov.UK website again and, this time, the form needed is form C100. The parent must also settle a fee of £215 to officially process the order. Again, financial assistance is still available if necessary.
The court would summon both parties to attend the hearing to discuss the parties’ demands and responsibilities. Both sides of the claims will also be discussed and understood. However, the court also has the right to waive this hearing in the event that the child faces an immediate danger. This, then, would be considered an emergency hearing and there will be no notice of the hearing order. The hearing, instead, would proceed as soon as possible. Consult with a legal representative or the Citizens Advice Bureau for free assistance.
Circumstances will move a lot more quickly if either of the parties can prove their claim that the other party is not fit to keep custody of the child. This would allow you to open an appeal that your child should live under your roof, but this would require significant evidence.
The Most Effective Evidence to Benefit Your Case
- First, a witness on the stand can be a great way to showcase your appeal and prove or influence the legitimacy of your claims.
- It is also beneficial to take a photograph of the living conditions that your child may be subject to if custody is given to the other party. If it shows an unfit environment, then you will have better chances of gaining custody.
- Finally, it is very effective to obtain firsthand evidence, such as a photograph or a video, showing that your child was being mistreated by the other party. It is also possible to use evidence showing the other party mistreating other people in the presence of your child. However, be careful that you don’t trespass just to obtain evidence as this offence can backfire on you.
Should you win the parental responsibility case, do not automatically assume that you will have your child all to yourself. As aforementioned, the court may decide to allow your former partner visitation rights or contact with the child through phone calls or letters. After all, your child has the right to still be aware of the existence of their other parent and there are also paternity rights involved.
Remember that a police officer has no legal jurisdiction to take away a child from a parent granted Parental Responsibility rights. However, police can still legally take the child if it is apparent that the child’s life is in danger. If you notice that a child’s life could be at risk, do not hesitate to call the police.
If you have questions about your rights as a parent and as a partner, seek advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau. Although the process might be longer, another option you can take is to seek help from your local government court. Also, you would need to present further evidence to help prove your claims.
Protect yourself and your children by knowing your rights and responsibilities.
And if you are looking for advice for any DNA testing required for personal or legal purposes make sure to contact a reputable company like EasyDNA.