Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility

What is Parental Responsibility?

Parental Responsibility includes all the rights, duties, powers and responsibilities and authority a parent has in relation to a child.  The Children Act 1989 does not clearly define exactly what Parental Responsibility is.  However, Parental Responsibility does include the right to be consulted in important decisions concerning a child’s education, medical treatment, and travel abroad.  However, Parental Responsibility is not linked to the right to see a child and does not mean that you can interfere with the day-to-day decisions that a resident parent can make.

Please also see our Frequently Asked Questions page on Parental Responsibility

Who has Parental Responsibility?

Not all parents have Parental Responsibility.  You have Parental Responsibility if you are :-

  • A mother
  • A father who is married to a mother
  • A father who is not married to the mother but is named on the Birth Certificate of a child born after 10th December 2003
  • You have adopted a child
  • A Residence Order has been made in your favour
  • The mother has agreed to having Parental Responsibility and a Parental Responsibility Agreement has been signed.
  • You have been appointed as Guardian under a will of someone who has died.
  • A court has made an order granting you Parental Responsibility

When parents separate, Parental Responsibility continues (except in cases of adoption).

When parents separate, wherever possible it is in the best interest of children if you can continue to work together.

How can we help?

We can advise you about Parental Responsibility, whether you have it, what it means for you and we can help you obtain Parental Responsibility if you do not have it.  If you do not have Parental Responsibility and everyone who has Parental Responsibility consents to you having Parental Responsibility, we can draft and register a Parental Responsibility Agreement.  If this is not possible, we can advise you about potential Court proceedings.  If Court proceedings are necessary, we can draft the necessary application to Court and represent you at any Court proceedings concerning Parental Responsibility.

Advice on Parental Responsibility

If you seek the following:-

  • Advice on Parental Responsibility
  • How to obtain Parental Responsibility if you do not have it
  • Completing a Parental Responsibility Agreement
  • Registering a Parental Responsibility Agreement
  • Preparing Court documents to issue an application for Parental Responsibility

Other matters to consider

If you are seeking advice about Parental Responsibility, you may also wish to seek advice about residence and contact.  If you are not a child’s parent and want advice about contact to children (for example, aunt, uncle, grandparent), we may also be able to advise you on this.