Soap Opera Highlights Parent's Responsibility

By Paul Hunt at 14:00

Regular viewers of Coronation Street will know that hairdresser David Platt has not exactly always been the most innocent of characters having been involved in his fair share of bust-ups and brawls.

But more recently it seems he is ditching his bad boy ways and putting estranged wife Kylie’s son Max as his priority and seeking the advice of a Family Law solicitor to request Max resides with him and not biological dad Callum.

David’s main difficulty is that although he has cared for him for a number of years he is not the biological father. Because of this, David will not have the legal status of ‘parental responsibility’, which a mother automatically has and the biological father would have, if he appears on the child’s birth certificate.

Legally speaking, David is therefore facing a struggle. He can apply for what is known as a ‘Child Arrangement Order’ which incorporates residence and contact issues.

However because he is not a parent, first he has to apply to the Court for ‘leave’ which is gains him permission to get the application off the ground.

Anyone can apply for ‘leave’ but this application will be refused if the Court is not satisfied it would be appropriate for the application to happen. This is a way of filtering out applications by people who do not have a close connection with the child.

If David applies for ‘leave’ the Court has to consider the nature of his application, his connection with the child and any risk of disrupting the child’s life.

If the application is successful then he will apply for ‘residence’. The Court will look at each potential carer to establish what is in the best interests of the child.

If David succeeds and gets a Child Arrangements Order which states that the child should live with him, then he will have the status of ‘parental responsibility’. This will then enable him to be in a position to speak directly to schools, hospitals, doctors etc as necessary.

Typically you would expect that the biological parent is going to have priority when it comes to making decisions about a child’s future welfare. However, In Callum’s case there would be issues about the minimal role that he has actually played in his son’s life so far. Many a child forms a stronger bond with a step-father than with a natural one.

It will be interesting to see how the soap continues to deal with the issue but storylines like this are a positive step in educating people about the necessary legal steps if they find themselves in the same position.


Paul Hunt

Paul Hunt , Senior Associate

As a senior solicitor Paul is responsible for cases involving divorce or separation, children, financial and property issues and domestic violence.

He is member of Resolution panel for private children law, ancillary relief and domestic violence. Paul is also trained in Collaborative Law.


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