Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility governs the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority in relation to a child.  It decides legal status in respect of a child’s health, education and welfare.

  • A mother has parental responsibility automatically.
  • A married father automatically has parental responsibility (irrespective of when the marriage took place) in respect of a child born to him and his wife.
  • A father of a child born after 1 December 2003 who is also named on the birth certificate automatically acquires parental responsibility.

A father can acquire parental responsibility (if none of the above apply) if he and the mother enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement or if the Court makes a Parental Responsibility Order.

A step-parent can also obtain parental responsibility for a step-child by entering into a Step-Parent Parental Responsibility Agreement, but the consent of both parents will be required in such circumstances.

Any other person who is granted an order stating that a child lives with them will also automatically acquire parental responsibility at the same time, but only for so long as the order remains in force.

In some circumstances, parental responsibility can be removed from the father, but these are usually in exceptional circumstances.

If you are a father without parental responsibility, we can assist you in acquiring parental responsibility in order to ensure that you are fully involved in any long term decisions affecting your child.