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Parental Responsibility Orders

Our team of specialist family lawyers can give advice in respect of all aspects of Parental Responsibility.

Parental Responsibility acknowledges your role as a parent and entitles you to make and be involved in decisions concerning a child.

By having Parental Responsibility, you should be consulted concerning matters such as:

  • Routine education including which school the child will attend
  • Changing a child's name
  • Medical treatment
  • Religious upbringing
  • When and in what manner the child might be guided or disciplined
  • The appointment of a guardian. A person with parental responsibility can appoint a Guardian to take over the care and control of their child in the event of the death of all those with parental responsibility.
  • Taking the child overseas either on holiday or permanently.

Mothers automatically have parental responsibility, as do fathers who are married to the mother

If you are an unmarried father you do not automatically have parental responsibility but you can acquire it in the following circumstances:

  • By being named as the father on the birth certificate of a child born and registered after 1st December 2003
  • By entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother
  • By order of the Court
  • By subsequent marriage to the mother.
  • By having a Residence Order made in your name

The Parental Responsibility Agreement is a prescribed form and must be correctly completed, signed and registered for it to be effective.

As an unmarried father, the Court will generally grant you parental responsibility if you are committed to the child and can show a genuine attachment and a sound motive for the application.

Since 2005 it has been possible in certain circumstances for step parents and civil partners of parents to obtain parental responsibility. This can only be acquired by agreement with the parents (but only those with parental responsibility) or by order of the Court. Parental responsibility will last until your child is 18 and will not end if that marriage or Civil Partnership comes to an end.