FAQs - Rights & Legal Issues

In this section of the website you will find frequently asked questions about particular issues or situations that affect children and young people and their parents. It is hoped that the answers to these questions will offer people useful information and advice, including links to other websites where appropriate.
Are the records of people with a learning disability confidential?
People with a learning disability have the right to confidentiality. People with a learning disability should be involved or consulted in decisions which have the effect of disclosing or passing on confidential information about them. There is no single law of privacy in the UK. There are several overlapping laws, which provide protection overaspects of confidentiality. The three areas of law that deal with confidentiality are: Common Law, Human Rights, Act Data Protection Act.


Can I arrange child maintenance without having contact with the other parent?

How can I get a tax credit decision changed?
The revenue can revise a decision if there is a change of circumstances, if they have made a mistake or if they think your award is wrong. If you disagree with their decision you can appeal. The time limit for appealing is 30 days from the date of the decision. An appeal must be in writing and must say why you are appealing. Appeals can be made on form TC623, found at the leaflet ATC/AP available from the Revenue. Unless you are reporting a change of circumstances it is usually better to ask for an appeal rather than a revision. This is because the appeal deadline of 30 days is not extended if you ask for a revision and it is turned down. Late appeals are sometimes possible up to one year and 30 days after a decision. But a late appeal is only granted in 'special circumstances', so you should always try and make sure that you meet the normal appeal deadline.

For more information please telephone 0845 300 3900 (Textphone 0845 300 3909) Lines are open from 8am-8pm seven days a week.

How can unmarried fathers get legal responsibility?
Unmarried fathers can acquire parental responsibility for their children in several ways, depending on when their children were born.

For children born before 1 December 2003, unmarried fathers can get parental responsibility by: For children born after 1 December 2003, the situation is different. Unmarried fathers can get parental responsibility by: For further information on this matter go to - www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/FamilyIssues


I’m a father do I have parental responsibility for my child?
According to current law, a mother always has parental responsibility for her child. A father, however, has this responsibility only if he is married to the mother or has acquired legal responsibility for his child. Living with the mother, even for a long time, does not automatically give the father parental responsibility. Parental responsibility does not always pass to the natural father if the mother dies and the parents were not married.
For further information please visit the following website link.

I am in care, where can I find information about the law and my rights?
An information service for children in care can be found at: www.carelaw.org.uk or National Youth Advocacy Service. - this has an Advocacy Service for children in care. Any young person looked after by a local Authority may ring the freephone helpline on 0800 616101 - Lines are open 3.30pm - 9.30pm every weekday and 2.00pm - 8.00pm on Saturday's and Sundays.
Visit website www.nyas.net or call helpline.
Redcar & Cleveland also have a Children in Care Council who have worked together to design their own website full of lots of useful information for children and young people living in care. Please visit www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/childrenincare
For more information about the Children in Care Council please contact:
Children's Participation Officer - Tel: 01642 777546 or Mobile: 07500606968

These organisations can also give advice about being in care.
Who Cares Trust - visit www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk

I need legal advice, where can I get it?
There are several agencies available to provide you with legal advice both locally and nationally. Information can be found in this service directory.

If I'm a parent with the main day-to-day care and I'm claiming benefits can I get child maintenance as well?

If I am separating, when should I start arranging child maintenance?

If I pay child maintenance, will this guarantee me access to my child?

If the parent without the main day-to-day care is claiming benefits can child maintenance still be arranged?

Once we've got a child maintenance arrangement in place, can we change it if it's not working?

Our children spend time living with each of us. What does this mean for child maintenance?

What can child maintenance options help me with?

What does civil law mean?
Civil law is the section of the law that deals with disputes between individuals or organisations. Rather than any sentence, custodial or otherwise, the end result is usually financial compensation.

People experiencing social problems often need legal advice in areas such as relationship breakdown, debt, housing, domestic violence and benefits.

Help is also available for asylum and immigration, education, employment, mental health and community care issues.

For further information on this check out the website below: www.legalservices.gov.uk/aboutus.asp

Further local services are available to help you in these matters, please use the service directory to help you.

What happens if the parent without the main day-to-care of the child refuses to pay child maintenance?

What is advocacy?
Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need.

What is Legal Aid and who can get it?
Legal Aid helps with the cost of legal advice for people cannot afford it.

If you need help with the costs of legal advice, you can apply for legal aid. Whether you will receive it will depend on: For more information on legal aid - www.legalservices.gov.uk/public/help/information_leaflets.asp

What is Parental Responsibility?
Having parental responsibility means you have the right to make important decisions about your childs life in areas like medical treatment and education. But it also means you have responsibilities. You have a duty to care for and protect your child.
For further information please visit the following website link:-

Whats the relationship between child maintenance options and the CSA?

When does advocacy help?
Advocacy helps when...