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Parental responsibility

Parental responsibility refers to a number of rights and duties which a parent has in respect of their child. In practical terms, it means the power to make important decisions in relation to a child.

What is Parental Responsibility?

There are a number of rights that are included in parental responsibility, such as having a say in;

  • The child’s name
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Medical treatment and access to a child’s medical records
  • Appointing a child’s guardian in the event of the death of a parent
  • Consenting to taking the child abroad on holidays or for extended stays

Who has Parental Responsibility?

The following people will automatically have parental responsibility:

  • All birth mothers
  • Fathers married to the mother at the time the child was born
  • Fathers who are registered on the child’s birth certificate
  • Civil partners and partners of mothers registered as the child’s legal parent on the birth certificate

Who can obtain Parental Responsibility?

A mother will always automatically have parental responsibility for her child, but a father may have to apply to the court or enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother, if he does not fulfil any of the above criteria.

Other people such as married and civil partnered step-parents can also get parental responsibility for a child, and in certain situations people such as grandparents, family members or other carers will be able to obtain parental responsibility.

If you would like more information on whether you would be able to get Parental responsibility for a child, please contact Carole Hack in our Family Law Department.

How do you get Parental responsibility?

There are three way to obtain Parental Responsibility;

  • Parental Responsibility Agreement - This is where an agreement is made between the mother and the unmarried father that gives him parental responsibility. This is mutually agreed. Parental Responsibility Agreements can also be entered into by step-parents as long as all persons with parental responsibility agree and sign the documentation
  • Parental Responsibility Order - This is when an agreement cannot be reached, then the next step is to apply to the court for an order
  • Appointing a Guardian - A parent with parental responsibility can appoint a person to be a guardian for their child after their death. There are a number of ways that this can be done, one of which is by including the appointment in your Will. However, if there is more than one person with parental responsibility for the child then the guardian will only be appointed after both parents with parental responsibility have died.

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Are you concerned about obtaining parental responsibility? Do you wish to appoint a Guardian for your child in your Will? We can help. Carole Hack in our Family Law team specialises in Child Arrangements and Parental responsibility and can guide you through the process. Call us today on 020 8771 5254 to book in a free initial assessment to see how she can help.

Team members

Carole Hack
Litigation Executive
Crystal Palace
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