There are a number of ongoing story lines on Coronation Street at the moment relating to issues about the legal position with regards to children.
Max, David and Callum
Back in February of this year we blogged about David Platt and his relationship with Max, the son of his wife Kylie.
The situation has moved on as, following Kylie’s disappearance, David and Callum, Max’s father, are engaged in a dispute about where Max should live and what time he should spend with each of them. Mediation was attempted but was unsuccessful and most recently have been before the court.
Unsurprisingly, and with it being a soap opera, there are a number of unrealistic elements to this storyline, not at least how quickly matters have moved.
It is also important to note that although you are required to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting you are not obliged to engage in full mediation before making an application to court. In the circumstances it always seemed unlikely that David and Callum would manage to agree matters through mediation (although stranger things have happened) and in reality I am not sure they would have tried.
They went before the court in Monday’s episode and again there were some issues about how realistically the court process was portrayed but I do not propose to go into those in any detail here.
One point to mention is that the terminology has changed and we no longer talk about contact (which is what Callum was given overnight on an interim basis by the court) and residence in the way that we used to. The law has been changed and the court should now refer to child arrangements orders. Of course in reality what is meant by this is often the same.
Miley, Faye and Jackson
Separately on the street there is an issue with regards to young mum Faye and the father of her child Miley. Jackson, who has been unveiled as the dad, has now admitted to fathering the child and has asked to be named on the birth certificate (or at least his mother seems to want this).
From a legal perspective this is important as being named on the birth certificate will give Jackson parental responsibility for Miley. This means that moving forward Faye would not be able to take Miley out of the county or change her name without Jackson’s permission. If he did not have parental responsibility then he could potentially stop those things happening but it would not be automatic.
If you have not been named on the birth certificate and are not married to the mother of a child then you will not automatically have parental responsibility and although you can obtain this through either a parental responsibility agreement or a parental responsibility order.
More information about parental responsibility can be found here.
By being named the father on the birth certificate the starting point for the CSA / Child Maintenance Service would be that Jackson is the father.
In circumstances where there are issues about the paternity then the parties can consider DNA testing and / or an application to court for a declaration of parentage.