Paul Hunt

Parental Responsibility

By Paul Hunt at 10:33

Legislation has been proposed which would appear to be intended to remove the status of Parental Responsibility of a father who is convicted of the most serious sexual offence involving a child i.e. rape child under 13. 

Parental Responsibility is a legal status which enables a person to be involved with and make decisions about matters concerning a child’s welfare.   This would consist of all the usual sort of decisions that parents must make regarding where children live, go to school, what happens with their medical treatment, name they are known by, whether they are taken out of the country for any reason. 

A mother automatically has Parental Responsibility, and a father has it if he was married to the mother or if his name appears on the child’s birth certificate. 

A father can retain Parental Responsibility even if he has no contact with the children because he has failed to obtain it or if he has chosen not to.  Either way he still has that legal status, and this still has weight for example when it comes to seeking consent to the removal of a child from the jurisdiction of the court even if only for holiday purposes. 

This means that a person who has committed an extremely serious offence has precluded the possibility of having contact with his own children and still exercise an influence from afar and require a mother to make applications to the court if his consent is not forthcoming for holidays abroad of other significant changes. 

The intention of this proposed amendment would appear to be to take the convicted person out of the equation so that they no longer need to be consulted and no longer can they exert control. 

Not having Parental Responsibility does not mean that a father cannot make applications to the court himself relating to his children.  Losing that status, however, means that he would not have to be consulted of applications made to the court in the absence of his consent whether or not that consent is reasonably withheld. 




Financial Matters after Divorce

By Paul Hunt at 11:00

The introduction of “no fault divorce” in 2022 has, to a large extent, taken the heat out of the divorce process by no longer requiring details for the reason of the breakdown of the marriage. 

It is, however, all too easy to go through that divorce process, especially if solicitors have not been instructed without giving thought at the time to financial and property issues that arise out of the marriage breakdown.  

The Court will not take the initiative in resolving these issues and I see many situations where the divorce itself has been concluded, but there are formal steps taken to sort out financial issues.  Sometimes informal arrangements are made between spouses which they both consider to be entirely satisfactory. 

It is important, however, to remember that such matters cannot be regarded as closed unless and until there is a Court Order in place.  There is no time limitation on making applications to the Court to deal with orders and people can receive an unpleasant surprise if they think all these matters were sorted out several years ago, only to find that they are very much still alive. 

If you have reached an agreement with your spouse, whether it be in mediation or by private discussion, it is very important to make sure that that agreement is set out in the form of a Court Order and approved by the Court, otherwise it can represent a very serious loose end.  

Achieving finality is very important, especially when assets, especially pensions, will very likely continue to grow in value post-separation. 

I would very much urge anyone who either thinks they have reached agreement or still has to reach an agreement, to take legal advice with a view to achieving that very necessary finality. 


Can I get Legal Aid - Family Law

By Paul Hunt at 16:00

Are you looking for Legal Aid for a family matter


  • 1

All Categories