Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility is defined as ‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by Law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property’.

While the Law does not define in detail what parental responsibility is, the following list sets out the key roles:

providing a home for the child

having contact with and living with the child

protecting and maintaining the child

disciplining the child

choosing and providing for the child's education

determining the religion of the child

agreeing to the child's medical treatment

naming the child and agreeing to any change of the child's name

accompanying the child outside the UK and agreeing to the child's emigration, should the issue arise

being responsible for the child's property

appointing a guardian for the child, if necessary

allowing confidential information about the child to be disclosed

Who has parental responsibility?
In England and Wales, if the parents of a child are married to each other at the time of the birth, or if they have jointly adopted a child, then they both have parental responsibility. Parents do not lose parental responsibility if they divorce, and this applies to both the resident and the non-resident parent.

This is not automatically the case for unmarried parents. According to current Law, a mother always has parental responsibility for her child. A father, however, has this responsibility only if he is married to the mother when the child is born or has acquired legal responsibility for his child through one of these three routes:

(from 1 December 2003) by jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother

by a parental responsibility agreement with the mother

by a parental responsibility order, made by a Court

The above information is from the Directgov website.

If you are at all in doubt as to whether you have parental responsibility for your child, please contact a member of our family team immediately who will be able to clarify this for you. If necessary, we will proceed to draft a parental responsibility agreement or submit an application the Court on your behalf.

Please contact our Family Law Team by telephone for free initial advice: 01392 209209.
If you choose to email, please provide a contact telephone number and we will call you at the earliest opportunity.
Nick Dudman, Director: 01392 209210. Email
Susan Jury, Solicitor: 01392 209212. Email

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