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What if I am not married to the child’s Mother – will it make any difference to my rights?
Both married parents will retain parental responsibility for their children following a divorce. Parental responsibility is identified as “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.
However in some cases where the parents are not married the Father may not have parental responsibility for a child. This can be obtained however by either having a formal written agreement with the Mother or by court order. It is advisable to obtain parental responsibility in all cases.
Generally a Father who is not married to the child’s Mother will have parental responsibility if he is registered on the child’s birth certificate as the Father. However if the child was born before 1 December 2003 this may not be the case and legal advice should be obtained.
Parents who have parental responsibility should make decisions about the child’s life jointly and this may include decisions about medical treatment, religion, education, adoption, change of surname or removal from England and Wales.