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Generally all parents have parental responsibility for their children, whether married or not, and that means major decisions in a childês life, such as choice of school, medical treatment, or religion have to be made jointly.¾ When parents are separated that can lead to disagreement.
In the case of dispute parents might initially consider mediation as a means to trying to resolve the dispute.¾ Where that is not successful, (or where mediation is not suitable), one or other parent can apply to the court for a specific issue order under the Children Act 1989 for the court to resolve that dispute.
A specific issue order can address many issues arising between parents in connection with their exercise of parental responsibility. Choice of school is just one example.¾ Others might include whether or not to have a child christened, whether a child should undergo a certain medical procedure, or even whether a child should go on holiday abroad with the other parent.
The courtês role will be to determine what is in the best interests of the child.¾ Neither parent has any rights.¾ The court is only interested in what is best for the child.¾
An experienced solicitor has often seen disputes of this type before.¾ We can usually advise as to the likely outcome of any such application to the court thus avoiding unnecessary and sometimes expensive proceedings.¾ We can often negotiate a way forward which comprises the dispute so that the child is not prejudiced but both parents take some benefit from the outcome.
In case of such disputes concerning a child early advice is beneficial.¾ All our initial meetings are at no charge and we might avoid unnecessary confrontation between parents or uncertainty for a child.
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