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Can My New Partner Play A Role In My Childs Life?

View profile for Rebecca Samuels
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The team at Tilly Bailey & Irvine often get asked whether new partners can play more of a role within a child’s life.

The starting point usually is to find out whether the child’s biological father has parental responsibility. Biological father would usually have this if parents have been married or if the child was born after 1st December 2003 and biological father’s details were entered upon the child’s birth certificate.

If biological father does have parental responsibility usually his consent is required prior to a new partner taking on more responsibility for a child but this is not always the case, each circumstance is different so please feel free to contact a solicitor at Tilly Bailey & Irvine for more details.

Myself and members of the Family  Law Team have assisted new partners to play more of a role within a child’s life by:-

  1. Assisting in the preparation of a change of name deed in order to change a child’s surname to the mother’s newly married name, that of her new partner and the child’s step-father.
  2. Assisted step-parents to obtain parental responsibility for a child. Parental responsibility is defined as all of the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to that said child. In practical terms, this may be responsibility for providing a home to the child, choosing a child’s education provider, choosing or agreeing to a child’s medical treatment if they are unwell etc. So in practice, this allows step-parents to take children to the hospital/doctors for routine appointments or treatments, attend at school and gain updates at parents evening etc.
  3. Step-parent adoption. A step-parent who is the partner of a natural parent of a child can apply to adopt their partner’s child or children. This ends the legal relationship that existed between the child and their natural parent and that natural parent’s wider family. It means that the step-parent who adopts will become the new legal parent of the child forever, will have parental responsibility and natural father will no longer have such rights including the need to pay maintenance etc.
  4. Obtain a Child Arrangement Order for the child to live with the step-parent. This does not take away the parental responsibility or legal rights of a natural parent.

If you would like more information on the role that your partner can play in the life of your child, please do not hesitate to contact one of our very experienced Family Law Team members.

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