Q My ex and I had a very stormy relationship right from the beginning and she ended our relationship after finding out she was pregnant, even though that was not what I wanted. Despite us no longer being together I vowed I would stand by her and the baby. Now he has been born I want more than ever to be part of his life when he is growing up, but my ex is refusing to put me on his birth certificate because she has been told we will have to share our time with him equally. Is this correct?
A: Where a father has been named on the birth certificate and the father was present when the birth was registered he usually has Parental Responsibility for the child. Where a child’s father and mother were married at the time of the birth, they would each automatically have Parental Responsibility for the child.
Parental Responsibility means all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child or his property.
It is not in any way related to who the child lives with or how much time the child spends with a person. Instead it recognises a holder of Parental Responsibility as being a ‘legal parent’ of the child and those holders should consult with each other before making any big decisions about the child, such as changing their school or changing their name.
Should a mother not agree to the father having Parental Responsibility, the father should consider making an application to the Court for a Parental Responsibility to protect his position in relation to the child. Before making an application to the Family Court most applicants must first attempt to resolve the dispute through family mediation. A family solicitor Mediator will be able to advise on this.