If you share parental responsibility for your child with someone else, you should agree about major decisions like what school they attend, whether they should have a particular medical treatment or whether they should be raised in a particular religion or participate in a religious ritual or ceremony.
If a dispute arises, you may be able to reach an agreement without going to court, either between yourselves or with the help of a solicitor or a mediator. If not, then you can apply to the family court for a specific issue or prohibited steps order. Find out more about how the court process works.
If the application concerns a disagreement about which school your child should attend, then an application should always be made in good time before the start of any school year so that the court has sufficient time to consider the application.
The court will encourage you to reach an agreement, but if you can't it will ultimately decide what is in your child's best interests. To help the court work this through, it will consider the 'welfare checklist'. Any or all of the following factors can be given whatever weight the court thinks is appropriate:
The court has a duty to consider whether making an order will benefit the child - the 'no order principle' says that in most circumstances it is better to get parents to agree rather than to impose an order on them.
Particular issues can arise in situations where children are not being raised in traditional families or are gender diverse. Find out more about:
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