Parental responsibility relates to the rights, duties, powers and responsibilities that a parent has in respect of a child or a third party has, if they hold parental responsibility for that child.
Who has parental responsibility?
The birth mother of a child will automatically have parental responsibility for them. This parental responsibility will only end when the child turns 18 or if an adoption order were made to another person.
A father will hold parental responsibility for a child if they were married to the mother at the time the child was born or is named as the father on the child’s Birth Certificate (and that child’s birth was registered after 1 December 2003). A father who marries a child’s mother after a child is born will also acquire parental responsibility for that child.
There are, however, circumstances in which none of the above apply and a father wishes to secure parental responsibility for their child. Here at Scott Rowe Solicitors our family law solicitor is experienced in advising fathers about the acquisition of parental responsibility and assisting with this either by way of agreement or an application to the Court.
There are also occasions when someone who is not a biological parent of a child may wish to secure parental responsibility for them. This may be someone who is caring for a child in place of a parent, such as a grandparent, or someone who is playing a significant role in a child’s life alongside their parents, such as a stepparent. Here at Scott Rowe Solicitors our experienced family law solicitor can discuss with you whether you should be seeking to secure parental responsibility for a child and the ways in which this may be achieved. We will be able to assist you in making any applications necessary or preparing any relevant documentation.
What parental responsibility means
Parental responsibility is defined as “all the rights, duties, powers and responsibilities in authority that by law a parent of a child has in relation to that child and his property”.
This means that a person who has parental responsibility for a child has a right to have a say in decisions relating to that child in certain matters such as:
- which school a child attends
- medical decisions relating to a child
- how a child is to be raised in terms of cultural and religion
- what a child’s name should be and whether that name should be changed at any time
- whether a child should be taken abroad for holidays or extended stays
A person with parental responsibility will be able to access information about a child, such as - accessing medical records, discussing medical matters with their treating GP or other medical practitioner, accessing a child’s school records, discussing a child’s education with their school and receiving information from a child’s school, such as school reports and updates.
Acquiring parental responsibility
Parental responsibility can be acquired in a number of ways and at Scott Rowe our family law solicitor is experienced in this matter and able to offer advice and support as to the appropriate way forward. We will consider whether there is scope for an agreement of parental responsibility being given to an unmarried father, advise and support in respect of a parental responsibility order and consider if, or when, it is appropriate to delegate parental responsibility to a third party.