Legal Information Centre

08 May 2008 by Mary Heaney

When a child is born

Law firm Blandy & Blandy lists the essential legal duties following the birth of a child.

New parents must register the birth of their child.Registration must take place within seven weeks of the child’s birth. If the required details are not provided a parent could be liable to a summary conviction and a fine up to £20.

 If the child’s parents are married the obligation to register the birth falls on both parents and either parent can register the birth without the other being present.

 If the child’s parents are not married the obligation falls on the child’s mother. If the father’s name is to be placed on the birth certificate he must be present at the time of registration or sign a statutory declaration of consent.

 If the parents are not married and the father’s name is not on the birth certificate the father will not have parental responsibility for the child. This means that he does not have a legal right to exercise parental duties and rights in relation to major decisions affecting the child. For example consenting to medical treatment, choosing which school the child goes to etc.

Make or update your Will

A Will speaks from death and is the only document that validly stipulates what you would like to happen when you pass away.

 For example:

- Who you would like to act as Guardians of any minor children that you may have.

-Who you would like to be in charge of dealing with the Estate i.e. The Executors.

- Whether you would like to pass on any personal items e.g. sentimental personal possessions.

- Whether you would like to make gifts of any fixed sums of money, called pecuniary legacies, to individuals or charities.

- Ultimately who you would like to benefit from the bulk of your Estate i.e. the residuary beneficiaries who may be your spouse or partner or your children. If your children, you can specify at what age you would like them to receive their entitlement. If you were to pass away without making a Will, there is a prescribed list of beneficiaries of your Estate (stipulated by statute). If married, your spouse will only receive a proportion of your Estate. If unmarried, your partner will receive nothing from your Estate.

 Returning to work

If you have told your employer that you will be returning to work on a certain date and you later decide to change your mind, you must give your employer 8 weeks notice prior to the date you were going to return.

During your maternity leave (save for the first 2 weeks) you can work for up to ten days without jeopardising your maternity pay. These are known as “Keeping in Touch” days.

All women have a right to return to work after maternity leave regardless of the size of the employer.

If you fulfill certain criteria you have a right to formally request a flexible working pattern if you have a child under 6 (or under 18 if disabled) and your employer must consider this request seriously.

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