Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility

‘Parental Responsibility’ is a legal concept commonly referred to when a disagreement over the arrangements for children has arisen. Parental Responsibility is:

‘the rights, duties, powers and responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his/her property’

When you have Parental Responsibility for a child you can make decisions about a whole range of issues including their health, education, how they spend their time, whether they can leave the country, their name and who they spend their time with.

You automatically have Parental Responsibility if you are:

  1. The child’s biological mother;
  2. The child’s biological father and you are married to, or later marry, the natural mother;
  3. The unmarried father of a child born after 1 December 2003 and you are named on the birth certificate.

If you are an unmarried father and you are not on the child’s birth certificate or the birth pre-dates 1 December 2003 you can acquire Parental Responsibility by:

  1. Entering into a voluntary Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother
  2. Obtaining a Parental Responsibility Order or Child Arrangements Order from the Court.

If you are not the child’s parent you may be able to acquire Parental Responsibility by:

    1. Obtaining a Child Arrangements Order confirming the child lives with you –  Parental Responsibility lasts for as long as the Child Arrangements Order lasts.
    2. Obtaining a Special Guardianship Order
    3. Adopting the child
    4. Becoming the child’s Guardian after the parents’ death.

We understand the difficulties that can arise if there are questions over who can make decisions concerning a child. Please feel free to contact us if you would like advice about these issues.

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