A judge's order for an eight-year-old boy to move to live with his father, instead of his mother, has made news.

If each parent has parental responsibility for a child, their rights and responsibilities are equal. Despite this, it remains a common misconception that mothers have more rights than fathers.

What does the law say?

A mother automatically has parental responsibility for a child. A father has parental responsibility if he is married to the child’s mother or listed on the child's birth certificate. It is also possible to make an application to the court for parental responsibility.

What happens if the relationship breaks down?

There is no presumption that a child should live with their mother, nor should a mother unilaterally make decisions in relation to the child. The paramount consideration of the court is the child and their best interests.

I am a father and want my child to live with me - what should I do?

• If a father has parental responsibility and an agreement cannot be reached with the mother, he can make an application for a Child Arrangements Order through the courts.

• If a father does not have parental responsibility, the process will take slightly longer but parental responsibility can also be granted as part of the Child Arrangements Order.

This case is a step in the right direction but there is a still a long way to go before fathers and mothers are viewed equally in society. If a judge made a ruling for a child to live with their mother, would this have made news?

  • Lucy Barr is a partner at award-winning law firm VWV , which has offices in Clarendon Road, Watford