Parental responsibility is a term used to describe someone’s rights and obligations towards a child. These rights exist so that the person (usually a parent) can carry out their parental duties. When a child is born and their parents are married each parent automatically has parental responsibility.
If the parents are unmarried at the time of birth, the mother automatically has parental responsibility but the father does not unless:
- his name is on the birth certificate and
- the child was born after 1st December 2003
It is possible for the father to acquire parental responsibility either by agreement with the mother or by a court order.
On the remarriage of one parent, a step-parent may wish to obtain parental responsibility.
This can be obtained:
- by agreement between the step parent and someone who already has responsibility for the child
- by a court order
- if a residence or adoption order is made in the step parent’s favour
At Hart Brown, we have a team of lawyers specialising in issues relating to children and can advise and assist parents on all aspects of parental responsibility.