Tyrone and Kirsty – what if it were real?
One of our best loved soaps has addressed an issue that appears in our newspapers on an almost weekly basis, domestic violence. But the script writers at Coronation Street are taking it one step further by not only portraying a woman as the perpetrator but also showing the knock on effect that it has where children are involved.
The story of Tyrone and Kirsty has gripped the nation and this week I found myself urging Tyrone to get some proper legal advice rather than relying on the well intentioned advice from friends.
For those who don’t watch one of the nation’s favourite soaps, Tyrone has been the victim of some very serious physical and verbal abuse at the hands of his girlfriend, Kirsty with whom he also has a young baby, Ruby. This abuse has been going on for some time but, like a lot of men and woman who find themselves in this situation, Tyrone has found it very difficult to leave or seek help.
This week he sought solace from his friend Fiz and took the difficult decision to leave Kirsty. Unfortunately he changed his mind having been told by Fiz that, as he doesn’t have parental responsibility for Ruby, he is at risk of losing her if he leaves Kirsty. Instead she suggested that he marry Kirsty simply so that he could obtain parental responsibility.
Tyrone needn’t take such a drastic step. Fiz is right in one aspect of the advice she gave, as Tyrone is not named as Ruby’s father on her birth certificate and as he is not married to her mother, he doesn’t automatically have parental responsibility.
Marrying Kirsty is not the only way to obtain parental responsibility though. It can also be obtained by agreement but as Kirsty has already refused to include Tyrone on the birth certificate she is clearly not going to agree to enter into a parental responsibility agreement.
In these circumstances Tyrone would have to make an application to the Court for a Parental Responsibility Order. Given the involvement that he has in Ruby’s life, the commitment he has shown to her and the clear bond that he has, I have no doubt that he would be granted a parental responsibility Order.
But what would that actually mean? The real issue is over who would care for Ruby if he and Kirsty separated. If Ruby’s parents cannot agree then ultimately a Court would have to decide and whether Tyrone has parental responsibility is not a factor that the Court would take into account when deciding on where Ruby should live (albeit that Tyrone should also apply for Parental Responsibility at the same time as applying for a Residence Order).
The above is general advice for guidance only. Should you find yourself in Tyrone’s position and need more specific advice then please feel free to contact Blocks. Demelza Butler, our specialist Family Solicitor can be contacted on 01473 343908 or firstname.lastname@example.org