When a child is born to married parents one or both of them will register the child's name on the birth certificate. The surname, such as Smith, Patel, Cohen, is the name by which the whole family unit is known. Children normally take the surname of their father unless their mother wishes them to have a different surname and the father agrees to this.
Unmarried fathers do not have to register their children's birth and have no independent right to have their name entered on the birth certificate. Unmarried mothers can only enter the father's name if they:
- both agree and sign the register
The information that Child Maintenance Options has given on these pages is not a substitute for independent professional advice and readers should get professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.
What is child maintenance?
Child maintenance is regular, reliable financial support that helps towards a child’s everyday living costs. The parent who doesn’t have main day-to-day care of the child pays child maintenance to the parent who does. In some cases, this person can be a grandparent or guardian.
Why is child maintenance important?
Child maintenance can make a real difference to children as it can help pay for things like clothing, food and other essentials. It can also help to keep both...
Responding to a series of online questions on the Family Lives website; Maria Miller MP addresses planned changes to the child maintenance system. Website users were invited to email their questions, a selection of which appear below:
Question: Why are lone parents going to be forced to pay for the services of the new CSA? Surely it should be the "deadbeats" that pay, not the resident parents? (James French, also asked by Lisa Seaton). Is this just a way of reducing the national deficit? (Justine Mensa-Bons)
Both parents have a responsibility to raise their children whether or not their own parental relationship is intact or not. Children do better when both parents remain involved in their lives. That goes for the financial cost of a child’s upbringing...
This article is kindly provided by Families Need Fathers (FNF). FNF is a charity concerned with the problems of maintaining a child's relationship with both parents during and after family breakdown. They offer information, advice and support services for parents.
The term ‘parent’ can mean different things depending on the area of law. Under educational law, a parent must be a biological parent. On the other hand, under healthcare law, a parent is anyone with parental responsibility, regardless of biological link...
As school children count down to their well-earned break from school, it can be a difficult time for parents – particularly when they are bringing up children alone. Complicated childcare arrangements, financial pressures and trying to keep bored children occupied are issues faced by all parents, but for lone parents they are often magnified. Disagreements about where the children will spend time can flair up, underlying the fact that family life has changed and this is a painful process for children and adults.
A quarter of British families are now headed by a single parent with 1.8 million mother and fathers raising their children single-handedly. At Family Lives we hear from thousands of lone parents each year and we have put together the following tips, for parents by...
Parent consultation: information for parents going through separation or divorce on contact and arrangements for children Family Lives was commissioned to run consultation groups for both parents and children to find out the best way to help separating parents reach decisions about their family. The consultation used examples of both new and existing materials to find out which way it could be most effectively presented to parents and children – younger age groups as well as teenagers.
Parents on the whole preferred the idea of having one comprehensive booklet, with sections covering different aspects facing them and their children. Feedback from the focus groups informed revision of the ‘Parenting Plans: putting your children first. A guide for...
Being separated from your child when you’ve been a full-time dad isn’t easy. Trying to adapt from being with them all the time, to limited visits maybe once or twice a week – or even less in some cases – is heartbreaking, for you and for them.
It’s at times like this that talking to other dads – or to someone impartial outside your situation – is so important. Jacques Pienaar is the father of a seven-year-old boy. He separated from his son’s mother when the little boy was two. Until recently he had been denied access to contact or see his son, and had to go to court in order to be granted a contact order.
‘Coping with not seeing my son was very difficult. I’d been involved in his life since the day he was born, and the longest that I had previously gone without seeing...
What is parental responsibility?
Parental responsibility (PR) is where an adult is responsible for the care and well-being of their child and can make important decisions about the following points for example:
- medical treatment.
Who has parental responsibility?
A married couple who have children together both automatically have parental responsibility. Parental responsibility continues after divorce. Mothers automatically have parental responsibility. Where the parents are not married, the umarried father has parental responsibility if:
- His name is registered on the birth certificate - this is the case for births registered after 1 December 2003. Fathers...
Divorce and separation are major life changing events for the adults involved but they can also be very hurtful and stressful events in the lives of children. Whether unmarried or married, lesbian, gay or heterosexual, many couples with children come to a point in their lives where a decision is to be made to end a relationship. It is hard to predict the impact of the family breakdown on everyone involved but more often than not there is a degree of hurt felt by the parents and children alike. It is easy for others to offer advice about the best way to approach this and trying to be amicable is best for all. However, this is not always easily done because of deep felt emotions that perhaps feel raw at the time.
Ending the relationship does not...
“I haven’t seen my children for ages – can I get back with them?”
“My daughter-in-law broke up the marriage and now she won’t let me see our grandchildren.” “I moved away – how can I keep in touch with my children?”
Divorce and separation
If you haven’t seen your children for a long time, there’s no way of knowing how they’ll react on seeing you again. They may feel resentful or they may jump at the chance. There may be all sorts of reasons why you lost touch and there also may be some issues that you need to address about your feelings, priorities or lifestyle to help restore contact. Get back in touch and talk things through with your ex and the children first. The sooner you do so, the sooner you can start to rebuild...
0808 800 2222
Join our Forums
Ask other members a question or browse a wealth of parenting challenges and solutions.