4.86The Commission considered the position of step-parents vis a vis the children of their spouse. “The availability of a non-exclusive package of parental responsibilities and rights, conferred in a way which is as non-threatening to the absent parent as possible, could be particularly useful for step-parents”.
4.87The following recommendation of the Commission was incorporated into section 11(11):
“A court order by which any person acquires any parental responsibility or right should deprive any other person of any parental responsibility or right only in so far as the order expressly so provides and only to the extent necessary to give effect to the order.”583
4.88Section 11(5) of the Children Act 1989 provides that a residence order in favour of one parent ceases to have effect if the parents live together for a continuous period of more than six months. Section 11(6) the Children Act 1989, makes a similar provision for contact orders. Such provisions only received limited support on consultation as they were seen as unnecessary or arbitrary, as the couple might separate again after 7 months. The Commission did not make a recommendation for similar provisions.584
Change of surname
4.89Section 13 of the Children Act 1989 restricts any change in a child’s surname or removal of the child from the United Kingdom when a residence order is in force with respect to that child.
4.90The Commission suggested that change of a surname could be dealt with by means of a specific issue order granting parental rights, including the right to change the name.585 The Commission felt that the existing practices met the situation.
4.91Under the Child Abduction Act 1984 it is an offence for a person connected with a child to take the child out of the United Kingdom without the appropriate consent if there is a court order awarding custody of the child to any person. The Commission recommended that this be changed to include a reference to a residence order in respect of a child. This has been done in Schedule 4, paragraph 34 and 37. The Commission recommended that given the existing provisions whereby Scottish courts have wide powers to grant orders prohibiting the removal of a child from the United Kingdom or any part of it, no provision similar to section 13 of the Children Act 1989 was required.586
583Ibid at 5.39.
584 Ibid at 5.40.
585 Ibid at 5.41.
586 Ibid at 5.41.