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Can my ex partner pick our child up from school without my permission?

View profile for Louisa Knight
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Can my ex partner pick our child up from school without my permission?

With the end of the summer holidays, most children will have gone back to school.

Unfortunately though, with the kids returning to school, some issues can arise around parental responsibility and arrangements between separated parents.

Family Solicitor Louisa Knight answers some common questions around the rights of separated parents.

What is meant by parental responsibility?

Parental Responsibility is defined in section 3 of the Children Act 1989 as being all the “rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.

Examples of exercising Parental Responsibility include (but are not limited to):

  • Consenting to or obtaining appropriate medical care for the child;
  • Naming the child;
  • Ensuring that the child receives the appropriate education for their age; and
  • Where the child should live.

Who has parental responsibility after separation?

Both parents will continue to have Parental Responsibility for the children after any separation. Both parties must continue to make key decisions together regarding the children as much as possible.

Who can make decisions about child’s wellbeing after divorce?

Any person with Parental Responsibility can make a decision for the child. However there is the risk that if this decision is not agreed to by the other parent, that parent can look at making an application to Court to reverse the decision made or have the Courts determine the issue that cannot be agreed.

Can my ex pick my child up from school without my permission?

If someone has Parental Responsibility, they can pick up their child from school. However, a Child Arrangements Order might set out certain restrictions; depending on the terms of the order, a parent picking up their child from school could be in breach.

Where there is no Child Arrangements Order in place, and one parent goes against an agreement made with the other parent by collecting the child on a day they are not due to collect the child, the other parent could make an application to the Court for a Prohibited Steps Order.

This would prevent the other parent from attending the child’s school when they are not supposed to i.e. it is not a day that they are due to be doing the school run or spending time with the child.

Can my ex change my child’s school without my permission?

Disagreements might arise relating to parental responsibility, or when parents can't agree on a certain part of their child's education or medical welfare. If this is the case, either parent can make an application to court for:

  • A Specific Issue Order - asking the court to make a decision regarding a specific dispute


  • A Prohibited Steps Order - an order which prevents a party from doing something

Specialist Family Solicitors

If you have any questions following this article, especially queries surrounding any of the orders mentioned, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our bright Family Team.

Contact us if you would like a free initial appointment with a member of our Family Team at our Christchurch or Ringwood offices, with no obligation or charge. Call on 01202 499255 or fill out the form on this page.