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What is parental responsibility and how can it affect your rights over your child?

Parental responsibility is all the rights, duties, powers and responsibilities a parent has in relation to the child and in relation to the child’s property.

It covers consent to medical treatment, making a decision about the child’s education or adoption, the right to apply for or refuse a passport and the removal of a child out of England or Wales for a holiday, or permanently.

Parents can exercise parental responsibility independently of each other but there are times when consent is needed from the other people who have parental responsibility, for example, if you are intending to remove the child from England or Wales permanently, or to change the child’s name.

You can only acquire parental responsibility one of the following:

  • by being married to the child’s mother at the time of birth
  • being named on your child’s birth certificate
  • having a Parental Responsibility Agreement (an agreement entered into with everyone who already has parental responsibility for the child)
  • by Court Order.

If none of the above apply to you then you will not be able to make the above decisions on your child’s behalf. You would even require permission of the Court to make any application relating to your child such as where they are to live and who they are to spend time with known as a Child Arrangements Order.

If you require advice as to whether or not you have parental responsibility for your child and the rights you have, please contact our family law specialists. We can also assist you in making an application for parental responsibility if necessary.

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