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THE LAW REFORM COMMISSION OF HONG KONG - page 326 / 360

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15.12We recommend that the language of section 3(1)(c)(ii) and (d) of the Guardianship of Minors Ordinance (Cap 13) should be changed to reflect the new language of responsibilities rather than rights.  Thus an unmarried father would be able to apply for an order granting him parental responsibility. (Paragraph 6.25)

Semi-automatic acquisition of parental responsibility and rights

15.13We recommend that an unmarried father should be capable of acquiring parental rights and responsibilities by signing the birth register.  This should be included in the list in the proposed legislation which delineates the acquisition of parental responsibility.  We do not recommend the automatic acquisition of parental responsibility or rights by unmarried fathers. (Paragraph 6.28)

Parental responsibility agreements

15.14We recommend that unmarried parents should be encouraged to sign parental responsibility agreements to ensure the best interests of their child. (Paragraph 6.29)

15.15We recommend that unmarried mothers should be encouraged to appoint a testamentary guardian for their children. (Paragraph 6.30)

Parent acting independently

15.16We recommend the adoption of a provision on the lines of section 2(7) of the Children Act 1989, allowing parents to exercise parental responsibility independently from each other but restricted to the day-to-day care and best interests of the child. (Paragraph 6.33)

Scope of parental responsibility

15.17To balance the adoption of section 2(7) of the Children Act 1989, and to reduce the number of disputes between parents after separation or divorce, we also recommend that one parent should consult the other when it comes to making major decisions for the child.  It is preferable if major decisions could be made jointly by the parents.  However, day-to-day decisions do not need notification to, or consent by, the other parent.  (Paragraph 6.35)

15.18Rather than giving a veto to the other parent, it would generate less friction if legislation specified those decisions where the other parent’s express consent was required, and those decisions where only notification to the other parent was required. (Paragraph 6.36)

15.19The legislation should include the definition of a major decision and list the classes of major decisions.  There should be three lists: the first, a general list of parental responsibilities; the second, a list of major decisions requiring express consent; and the third, a list of major decisions requiring notification.1367 (Paragraph

1367 The lists are set out in paragraphs 6.33-35.

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