What is parental responsibility?
The law doesn’t really define what exactly parental responsibility is, but does include making decisions about a child’s education, going abroad and any medical treatment they may receive.
However parental responsibility is not linked to a right to see a child and doesn’t mean that you can interfere with the day to day decisions that the resident parent makes.
Who has parental responsibility?
Not all parents have parental responsibility and it can be difficult to understand your rights if you don’t live with your child. Similarly it can be hard, if you are a parent who has a child living with you, to understand what rights and responsibilities that you and the other parent may have. To clarify:
- Mothers and married fathers automatically have parental responsibility
- Fathers who were never married to the child’s mother might not have parental responsibility depending on when the child was born and whether their name is on their birth certificate
You can get parental responsibility in a number of ways such as if you adopt a child or the court makes a residence order in your favour. If you are an unmarried father and the mother agrees to you having parental responsibility it can be quick and relatively easy to obtain. If no agreement about who should have parental responsibility can be reached, you might need to obtain a court order.
In some rare circumstances such as when a child is adopted, parental responsibility can end. While the law is clear that if you had parental responsibility before you separated, your responsibilities continue whether a child lives with you or not after the break up. In fact, the law encourages resident and non resident parents to work together for the best interests of their child.
For more about parental responsibility and other issues about children, see our FAQs.
How can we help?
We can advise you about parental responsibility, whether you have it, what it means and how you can get it. If everyone that has PR consents we can help you make and register a parental responsibility agreement. Or if this is not possible we can advise you about and/or represent you in court proceedings regarding parental responsibility.
Our parental responsibility agreement sevice covers:
- advice on parental responsibility and how to obtain it
- completing your application
- advice on having your agreement document witnessed
- corresponding with the court and anyone with parental responsibility.
It assumes that everything is agreed between you and that there is no need for further negotiations.
What you pay us:
Total amount you will pay:
Other things to consider
You might also need to consider other issues regarding children such as residence and contact. If you are not a child's parent but want advice about issues concerning them, see our section on rights for grandparents and non-parents..
To find out more about parental responsibility please contact us.