Parental Responsibility means ‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent has for a child’.
It includes, but is not limited to:
- The duty to care and provide a home for the child.
- Make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.
- Determine where the child should live.
- Naming the child.
- Which, if any, religion a child follows.
- Providing consent to remove the child from the country – whether on holiday or permanently.
- Giving consent to medical or other treatment for the child.
- Decisions regarding the child’s education and schooling.
The concept of Parental Responsibility serves to highlight the idea that parents have “responsibilities” or “duties” towards their children, as opposed to “rights” over them.
Who has Parental Responsibility?
A mother automatically has Parental Responsibility for a child. But what about the father? Here the situation is slightly different.
A father automatically acquires Parental Responsibility for a child if he is married to the mother at the time of birth or subsequently – it is not lost on any subsequent divorce.
A father can acquire Parental Responsibility if they:
- Are named on the Birth Certificate (if the birth is registered after December 2003).
- Enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the child’s Mother.
- Secure a Parental Responsibility Order.
- Secure a Child Arrangements Order for a child to live with them (also known as a Residence Order).
No one else automatically has Parental Responsibility for a child. However, other people may be able to acquire Parental Responsibility in very specific circumstances.
Get in touch
Our family law team can advise you whether you are eligible, how to acquire it and the best way this can be achieved in your circumstances.
If any issues arise regarding the exercise of Parental Responsibility, we also offer practical advice to try to help you resolve the problem.
If you wish to speak to any of the family law team, please get in touch. Either call on 01323 727321 to arrange an appointment or please fill in the form below and someone will get in touch.
At Hart Reade, all of our family law solicitors are members of Resolution, which means we are committed to resolving matters by agreement and in a non-confrontational manner. We can provide you with a wealth of information, advice and support to assist you during what can be a difficult time.
Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice. You should always speak to a legal professional to discuss your circumstances and consider your options.