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Child Support Law and Parental Responsibility

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 6 Nov 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Parental Responsibilities Law Child

Parental responsibility refers to the rights and privileges that unite the relationship between a parent and their child. This can also apply to any significant adult that plays an influential part in the child’s life.

EU Law And Parents

The European Union (EU) recognises the importance of Family Law and has rules on the jurisdiction of the enforcement of parental responsibility. This enforcement is recognised by uniform procedure that ensures the courts in the child’s resident state has the jurisdiction to rule on parental responsibility.

As part of the EU’s policies parental responsibility ensures the child has the right to maintain contact with both parents, regardless of where they live within the EU member states. The enforcement of access rights also seeks to prevent child abduction within the European Union.

Parental Responsibility In The UK

Under English law parents are responsible for upholding all the duties, powers, rights, authority and responsibilities in relation to their child. If the mother and father are married, at the time of the child’s birth, they share parental responsibility. However, if the parents are unmarried parental responsibility is given to the child’s mother, unless the child is the subject of an Adoption Order.

A civil partner can acquire parental responsibility, provided the other partner is in agreement with this arrangement. Parental responsibility must also be put in writing, in the case of a step-parent. A legal guardian may also be responsible along with someone who has a residence order stating that the child must live with them.

Parents And Child Support

Parental responsibility extends to providing a comfortable environment in which a child can be supported through childhood. Providing suitable shelter, clothing, food and educational items is also the parent’s duty.

In the case of families that are separated by divorce, legal separation or lone parents with absent fathers providing assistance, the form of a maintenance payment can help reduce the financial pressures of child-rearing.

Separated parents are legally duty bound to ensure their child, or children, are properly looked after. Parents with care, of the child, may experience difficulties in financially supporting the child on their own. Child support laws in the UK therefore obligate a non resident parent to pay a periodic amount of maintenance in order to provide financial assistance for the child in their home environment.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) and Child Maintenence Service (CMS) provides parents with care with a maintenance collection and distribution service that also assists with tracing absent parents.

In practice sharing parental responsibility means that adults must put the child’s interests first in any situation. A parental responsible person must do what is reasonable in any circumstance for the purpose of safeguarding the child’s welfare. This also means promoting and maintaining a safe, welcoming environment for the child to live in.

Shared Responsibilities

Sharing parental responsibilities requires that both parents consult on matters of importance that concern their child, regardless of their own relationship with each other. Understanding that the child’s welfare comes first is of paramount importance.

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Hi I didn’t put my child’s fathers name on the birth certificate, as he did not want to be involved. He sends me constant abuse and has only seen her a handful of times since being born, she’s only 6 months old. I am worried he will go to court to try and get parental responsibility and continue to make my life hell. Can you advise as to whether it makes a difference how he has undermined and ‘bullied’ me throughout pregnancy and the first few months of her life (all of what I have evidence of in text messages) if the court will give him parental responsibility when he has proved unreliable so far and cruel?
Sante86 - 6-Nov-18 @ 9:22 PM
If my child's bio father has not been in her life from the start (turned out to be convicted child molester) and gives parental responsibility to my civil partner who's been in her life for 7 years.. Does the bio parent still have to pay child maintenance as maintenence is already court ordered
Debbie - 2-Nov-18 @ 9:09 PM
Hi. My daughter is 14 her dad as parental responsibility but he is not on her birth certificate, he can see his daughter when ever he wants but he never seems to ask to see her, it's always on my daughters terms, which she is happy about. It's time he played a responsible part in her life, can I claim csa?
Ajm - 29-Oct-18 @ 10:16 AM
My ex-wife took my daughters to live 350 miles away 8 years ago and I have only seen them twice since then despite numerous journeys to where they live.I continue to write every fortnight, send christmas and birthday presents to them as well as the odd 'missing you', 'good luck at new school' cards etc.I have received one thank you card in all that time. I receive their school reports and, up until now, have received their school pictures (my ex-wife never lets me know) as I always call the school every September.This year I called as usual and was told by the school that my daughters have said they don't want me to receive them anymore.I am devastated as this is my only way of seeing what they look like. Is there anything I can do and are they allowed to specify this (they are now 11 and 14)...?
Jonah - 16-Oct-18 @ 1:44 PM
Hi, I have recently got married, I have two children by a previous partner. The father is absent and uncontactable, I have absolutely no idea where he is and haven't since I broke up with him three years ago. He has had no contact with the children in that time, and in fact if he did try to have contact with them he would find it very difficult due to past abuse. Now I am married I would like my children to take my husband's name, I would like him to have parental responsibility, and ideally he would like to formally adopt them. I wasn't married to my children's father but he is on their birth certificates. In this situation does the biological father have parental responsibility, or can we change their names etc without him as he is uncontactable?
Lo - 3-Oct-18 @ 4:11 PM
Hi, my question is..if I have got someone pregnant on a night out, and they decided to keep the child even though I was against it. Would I still have to pay towards the child. Also how would it work if I'm unemployed as I am only a student
George - 27-Sep-18 @ 12:09 PM
Hi, I can't seem to find a direct answer for my very specific situation.I'm a non-UK citizen, unmarried, biological soon to be father.The mother IS a UK citizen and we have separated.She has agreed, if it's legally possible, to absolve me of any and all parental and financial obligation.Is it in fact possible, if so, how?
DSD - 18-Sep-18 @ 12:03 PM
Kate - Your Question:
Does a non biological father have to pay child maintenance? My ex had her daughter before we got together and we married a few year into relationship.not on birth certificate also no legal rights as no adoption or any kind of rights put into place

Our Response:
No, if you are the non-biological father you would not have to pay child maintenance. The biological father is responsible for this. However, if you divorce then an extra financial provision may be made towards your wife if you have brought your stepdaughter up from birth.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Sep-18 @ 10:56 AM
My daughter is 12 her father has never been apart of her life ever, now he has shown up out of the blue wanting access but she doesn’t want to go with him. What rights does he have? And can my daughter refuse to go with him?
Lilyj987 - 6-Sep-18 @ 9:14 PM
Does a non biological father have to pay child maintenance? My ex had her daughter before we got together and we married a few year into relationship..not on birth certificate also no legal rights as no adoption or any kind of rights put into place
Kate - 6-Sep-18 @ 2:50 PM
Lilyj987 - Your Question:
My daughter is 12 her father has never been apart of her life ever, now he has shown up out of the blue wanting access but she doesn’t want to go with him. What rights does he have? can my daughter refuse to go with him? He isn’t on the birth certificate.

Our Response:
Your daughter's father will be able to apply to court if you refuse to attend mediation to discuss the matter. However, as your daughter is now 12 years of age, then her opinion will be taken into consideration. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. You can see more about child arrangement orders here , which shows you the process. You have every right to withhold access until a court decides what it thinks is in the best interests of your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 6-Sep-18 @ 9:42 AM
My daughter is 12 her father has never been apart of her life ever, now he has shown up out of the blue wanting access but she doesn’t want to go with him. What rights does he have? can my daughter refuse to go with him? He isn’t on the birth certificate.
Lilyj987 - 4-Sep-18 @ 10:34 PM
@Nurse1984 - if parental responsibility was taken from him, it would also absolve him of all financial responsibility for his child..........Only a court can decide and as a rule a court wouldn't opt to... for that very reason.
OllieN - 3-Sep-18 @ 3:42 PM
Can parental Responsibility be taken away if my ex had never seen my 11 year old since he was 4 months old is a serial job hopper and has dodged many deductions of earnings the CMS are looking into legal enforcement ie bank account deductions?
Nurse1984 - 30-Aug-18 @ 10:45 PM
Tiny - Your Question:
My daughters biological father as nothing to do with my daughter I’ve book 3 weeks holiday to Disneyland Florida she as his surname worrying what documents I’m gonna need as his on the birth certificate she’s nearly 9 and his been absent from her life for 8 and half years don’t wanna get all the way to Florida and get sent back

Our Response:
You must get the permission of everyone with parental responsibility for a child or from a court before taking the child abroad, please see the link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Aug-18 @ 2:34 PM
Sam - Your Question:
Hi, I'm lost at how to help my husband and I am looking for advise and support. My husband and his daughter were inseparable when I first met him, he is a fantastic dad and loves his daughters. We used to have his daughter the youngest now 13, all the time and go away with her. But as puberty hit, she become anxious and depressed, she wont see him or contact him, the ex wife doesn't encourage the contact and blames my husband for moving a two hour drive away for all their daughters problems. I must state here that my husband was separated and both living in different houses 2 years before I came onto the scene.It is tearing my husband apart and has for the past two years, the ex wife no longer let him know how she is doing or encourages she to see, contact or speak to him. My husband is broken by this, the daughter ignores her dads calls, texts and refuses to see if he goes down. He has maybe seen her a total of 6 times in the past two years. Can anyone give me any advise or suggestion on how they can get past this and become closer again? I would do anything to support this relationship getting repaired, I'm worried the longer it goes on the harder it will be for his daughter to see her dad. He still see this eldest daughter who is 22 and has a baby of her own, both girls and the granddaughter all still live with his ex wife.Thank you for reading,

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. If his daughter is anxious and/or depressed then maybe he shouldn't take it personally as it may be part of a wider issue. Individuals who are clinically anxious or depressed can and do take a step back from the world and relationships with people. In other words, when they are focussed on their own problems other people can take a back seat. In this respect, trying to communicate with the mother and perhaps suggesting mediation may be the way forward in order to try to ascertain what the issues are and whether he can help. Alternatively, a letter to his daughter stating that he misses her and he is there at any point if she needs him he will be there. Your husband is in a limbo situation, as forcing the issue of access through court is unlikely to help if his daughter is unwilling (and at age 13 court will allow her opinion). Additionally, his other daughter may be willing to act as a mediator too. It is difficult to give advice as without knowing the full background story. But all your husband can do is be patient and hope the situation at some point turns around. If he takes the matter to court, court can be incredibly stressful and the question is does he wish to go to these lengths?
ChildSupportLaws - 3-Aug-18 @ 10:02 AM
Hi, I'm lost at how to help my husband and I am looking for advise and support. My husband and his daughter were inseparable when I first met him, he is a fantastic dad and loves his daughters. We used to have his daughter the youngest now 13, all the time and go away with her. But as puberty hit, she become anxious and depressed, she wont see him or contact him, the ex wife doesn't encourage the contact and blames my husband for moving a two hour drive away for all their daughters problems. I must state here that my husband was separated and both living in different houses 2 years before I came onto the scene. It is tearing my husband apart and has for the past two years, the ex wife no longer let him know how she is doing or encourages she to see, contact or speak to him. My husband is broken by this, the daughter ignores her dads calls, texts and refuses to see ifhe goes down. He has maybe seen her a total of 6 times in the past two years. Can anyone give me any advise or suggestion on how they can get past this and become closer again? I would do anything to support this relationship getting repaired, I'm worried the longer it goes on the harder it will be for his daughter to see her dad.He still see this eldest daughter who is 22 and has a baby of her own, both girls and the granddaughter all still live with his ex wife. Thank you for reading,
Sam - 2-Aug-18 @ 1:38 PM
My daughters biological father as nothing to do with my daughter I’ve book 3 weeks holiday to Disneyland Florida she as his surname worrying what documents I’m gonna need as his on the birth certificate she’s nearly 9 and his been absent from her life for 8 and half years don’t wanna get all the way to Florida and get sent back
Tiny - 1-Aug-18 @ 9:45 PM
I think your article is factually incorrect. On 1st December 2003 the law was changed, so that unmarried fathers who appear on a child's birth certificate are granted automatic parental responsibility. I know this because My older boys were born either side of this law, and I only share PR for one of them, with sole PR of the elder boy.
Fisheees - 6-Jul-18 @ 2:24 PM
Red.Head - Your Question:
Hi, I had my son wiv my ex partner in 2011,he was extremely violent whilst I was pregnant and after I had my son. I went to the police and had a non molestation order as the police advised. We had to go to court through this. Whilst at court my ex would turn on the water works and turn into a tiny mouse stating that I was using my son against him, I would not allow him to see my son due to him being a few weeks old and the violence from my ex being near misses to my son. My ex was given parental responsibility by the court but has not seen him since 2012, so 6 years, he has never paid towards him etc. My partner has been around since my son was 4months old(known eachother for 10years). We now have a child together. I would like to know if my ex's parental rights could be terminated due to him not seeing my son and if my partner is able to have any legal rights to my son? He has been the one who has been there, looked after him, fed him, taught him to walk/count etc. Advice appreciated

Our Response:
The court would not remove parental responsibility from your child's father unless your child's father consented to adoption (which would give your new partner parental rights over your child) through the process of adoption. Please see link here , which will explain more.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Jun-18 @ 2:54 PM
Hi, I had my son wiv my ex partner in 2011,he was extremely violent whilst I was pregnant and after I had my son. I went to the police and had a non molestation order as the police advised. We had to go to court through this. Whilst at court my ex would turn on the water works and turn into a tiny mouse stating that I was using my son against him, I would not allow him to see my son due to him being a few weeks old and the violence from my ex being near misses to my son. My ex was given parental responsibility by the court but has not seen him since 2012, so 6 years, he has never paid towards him etc. My partner has been around since my son was 4months old(known eachother for 10years). We now have a child together. I would like to know if my ex's parental rights could be terminated due to him not seeing my son and if my partner is able to have any legal rights to my son? He has been the one who has been there, looked after him, fed him, taught him to walk/count etc. Advice appreciated
Red.Head - 3-Jun-18 @ 8:59 PM
Red.Head - Your Question:
Hi, I had my son wiv my ex partner in 2011,he was extremely violent whilst I was pregnant and after I had my son. I went to the police and had a non molestation order as the police advised. We had to go to court through this. Whilst at court my ex would turn on the water works and turn into a tiny mouse stating that I was using my son against him, I would not allow him to see my son due to him being a few weeks old and the violence from my ex being near misses to my son. My ex was given parental responsibility by the court but has not seen him since 2012, so 6 years, he has never paid towards him etc. My partner has been around since my son was 4months old(known eachother for 10years). We now have a child together. I would like to know if my ex's parental rights could be terminated due to him not seeing my son and if my partner is able to have any legal rights to my son? He has been the one who has been there, looked after him, fed him, taught him to walk/count etc. Advice appreciated

Our Response:
Unless the father of your child agrees to his child being adopted by your partner, his parental rights will not be terminated by the courts.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-May-18 @ 12:03 PM
Hi, I had my son wiv my ex partner in 2011,he was extremely violent whilst I was pregnant and after I had my son. I went to the police and had a non molestation order as the police advised. We had to go to court through this. Whilst at court my ex would turn on the water works and turn into a tiny mouse stating that I was using my son against him, I would not allow him to see my son due to him being a few weeks old and the violence from my ex being near misses to my son. My ex was given parental responsibility by the court but has not seen him since 2012, so 6 years, he has never paid towards him etc. My partner has been around since my son was 4months old(known eachother for 10years). We now have a child together. I would like to know if my ex's parental rights could be terminated due to him not seeing my son and if my partner is able to have any legal rights to my son? He has been the one who has been there, looked after him, fed him, taught him to walk/count etc. Advice appreciated
Red.Head - 16-May-18 @ 4:12 PM
dg - Your Question:
I continued to pay CMS directed monies throughout the full Appeals processHMCTS Tribunal (06/12/2017) Decision was that the case should have been "set aside" backdated to original CMS decision date of 06.12.2016 as that I should not be paying CMS monies in the first place, I have full shared care and provide "a home" for my children.Therefore I ended up paying 11 months of CMS Monies, tribunal deemed that I shouldn't have been, throughout the process.Am I entitled to this money back, as I have been advised by CMS via small claims court?

Our Response:
You would have to speak to CMS directly. If CMS say no and you wish to make a claim, then you may have to go through the process again.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-May-18 @ 10:08 AM
I continued to pay CMS directed monies throughout the full Appeals process HMCTS Tribunal (06/12/2017) Decision was that the case should have been "set aside" backdated to original CMS decision date of 06.12.2016 as that I should notbe paying CMS monies in the first place, I have full shared care and provide "a home" for my children. Therefore I ended up paying 11 months of CMS Monies, tribunal deemed that I shouldn't have been, throughout the process. Am I entitled to this money back, as I have been advised by CMS via small claims court?
dg - 14-May-18 @ 11:10 AM
kaz - Your Question:
I am separated from my civil partner and we have two children although I have parental responsibility (as.we were civil.partnered at time of conception) I am not a legal.parent to.either of our girls ( both conceived before 1/4/2009 HFEA 2008) and have not adopted or on birth cert. am I financially liable for girls in any way as my ex expecting more than 50% of house equity??

Our Response:
Under the Child Support Act 1991, the Child Maintenance Service cannot make an order against a non-biological parent. However,if you are divorcing and you are a step-parent, you may be required to provide financial provision for the children if they are deemed to be part of the family. You may wish to seek legal advice regarding this.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-May-18 @ 10:09 AM
My daughter age 7 has zero contact with her biological father as he refuses even though he resides on the next street to my daughter how do i go about taking his parental responsibility away as he is named on her birth certificate and can I represent myself or can i apply for legal aid. Thanks
Looloo - 30-Apr-18 @ 7:09 PM
I am separated from my civil partner and we have two children although I have parental responsibility (as.we were civil.partnered at time of conception) I am not a legal.parent to.either of our girls ( both conceived before 1/4/2009 HFEA 2008) and have not adopted or on birth cert. am I financially liable for girls in any way as my ex expecting more than 50% of house equity??
kaz - 30-Apr-18 @ 5:03 PM
Pitbull - Your Question:
My partner does not even know where his child is through no fault of his own as mother won’t make contact, mediation was tried and she back out every time - can we remove parental responsibility as completely unfair that he pays for a child that he cannot see and is his something that can be stopped

Our Response:
Child maintenance and child access are two different issues not to be confused. With regards to child maintenance, every non-resident parent by law has to pay to help support their child whether they see their child or not. If the mother prevents access or contact, then your partner has the option to apply to court to see his child. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. You can see more about child arrangement orders via the gov.uk link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 12-Apr-18 @ 10:09 AM
My partner does not even know where his child is through no fault of his own as mother won’t make contact, mediation was tried and she back out every time - can we remove parental responsibility as completely unfair that he pays for a child that he cannot see and is his something that can be stopped
Pitbull - 11-Apr-18 @ 11:25 AM
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