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The issue of Parental Responsibility came to the fore in a storyline on Eastenders this week, as Honey Mitchell, ex-wife of Billy Mitchell, arrived back in Albert Square. Billy's joy at his ex-wife's return and his hopes for reconciliation were short-lived when Honey announced she was heading to Canada, taking with her Billy's two children Janet and William.
Taking a break from her maternity leave, Family Law Solicitor and soap plot scrutineer Rebecca Finnigan took a closer look at the issue of parental responsibility, including what rights a parent such as Billy has to stop Honey from taking his children out of the country...
"The first thing to say is that as a father married to the children’s mother, Billy has Parental Responsibility (PR) for his children. This gives him rights and responsibilities towards them. For instance he is able to consent to medical treatment they may require or to be involved in decisions about their education. A decision to move abroad is monumental and one which should not be taken without consent of other parents or individuals with PR.
It is important to note that as much as Billy is hapless, a petty criminal and a low ranking member of the Mitchell dynasty, he is a doting and committed father to little Janet and aspiring model William. We do hope that Billy puts his foot down and reminds Honey that the children’s relationship with their father is more important than William’s flash in the pan modelling career. He needs to seek legal advice as to where he stands."