Parental Responsibility

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 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:

No one else automatically has Parental Responsibility for a child. However, other people may be able to acquire Parental Responsibility in very specific circumstances.

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.

There are some cases where an agreement cannot be reached and it is necessary to apply to the Court for a Specific Issue Order or a Prohibited Steps Order.

In these circumstances, our family law team will be able to represent and guide you through the proceedings. Whatever the problem, our family law team are able to help.

Free Legal Appointment

Our Family Department offers a free 30 minute appointment to all clients.

At that appointment we will discuss and review your circumstances and give you preliminary legal advice.

We will also review with you, in general terms, your options in respect of the divorce, finances or children matters and also provide a cost estimate.

The 30 minute appointment will be free of charge and there will be no obligation for you to use our services.

Please telephone the following contact numbers to arrange an appointment:

Eastbourne 01323 727321

Hailsham 01323 841481

Polegate 01323 487051

Meads 01323 407577

Alternatively, please complete the contact form below.

We will maintain complete confidentiality and discretion at all times.

Please click here to fill in our contact form

Please note the above is for information purposes only and is intended to be a short summary.  It should not be treated as a comprehensive guide and should not be acted on without qualified legal advice.

Further Legal Information

Click on the links below for further information on the following areas:

Divorce and Family Finance

Civil Partnerships

Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Unmarried Couples


Collaborative Law

Mediation Services

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Representation in Court Proceedings

Our Team

Costs – General Information

Deferring Fees in Divorce