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Parental responsibility

The legal definition of parental responsibility is “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authorities which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and the child's property.”

A person with parental responsibility for a child has the right to be involved in decisions in relation to a child such as:

  • Where a child should live
  • Where a child should be educated
  • Whether a child should have medical treatment

If you share parental responsibility with another person, you will have to obtain their agreement before you can take a child out of the country. In the UK, it is a criminal offence to take a child out of the country without the agreement of everyone who holds parental responsibility for a child.

If you share parental responsibility and the other parent is not agreeing to allow you to take the child abroad, our expert children law solicitors can assist in providing advice in relation to your circumstances.

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Who has parental responsibility?

A birth mother will automatically have parental responsibility when a child is born.

A child’s father will only automatically have parental responsibility for a child where

  1. He is or has been married to the child's mother; or
  2. If the child’s birth was registered after 1st December 2003 and he was named as the father on the birth certificate.

Unmarried fathers can obtain parental responsibility for a child, even if they were not named on the child’s birth certificate by either

  1. Entering a parental responsibility agreement with the child’s mother; or
  2. By obtaining an order from the court

If you are seeking advice as to how you can obtain parental responsibility for your child, our expert children law solicitors can advise you in relation to your specific circumstances.  

Can I obtain parental responsibility?

It is possible for people other than the child’s birth parents to obtain parental responsibility for a child.

If you are considering surrogacy, our expert surrogacy solicitors can advise you in relation to the legal process.

If you are a caring for a child and want to know whether you can apply for parental responsibility for the child, our expert children law solicitors can advise you in relation to your circumstances and the range of orders that the court can make including:

Can a local authority obtain parental responsibility for my child?

A local authority can obtain parental responsibility for a child by making an application for a care order, you can find more information here: care orders

Why choose Stephensons?

We have experience of advising both divorced and separated couples in gaining parental responsibility agreements, or if you are the father of a separated unmarried couple, we can apply to the court to gain parental responsibility so that the father receives recognition in terms of parental responsibility. The court will then take a number of aspects into account when considering whether to grant parental responsibility to the father.

This is a specialist field and we have experience to advise you in the optimal way to help you achieve the outcome you are seeking. Contact us today on 0161 696 6193 or complete our online enquiry form.

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4.5 score on Trustpilot Based on count 1384

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