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What is Parental Responsibility?
All the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to a child and his property. Parental Responsibility carries with it the duty to act as a Responsible Parent and will last until the child is 18 or marries between the ages of 16 and 18, or if there is an adoption order granted against the natural parent.
Parental responsibility allows a parent legal rights to take decisions about such things as their children’s education, medical maters and religion.
It gives the parent the automatic right to apply for or be involved in Court Orders that affect their children.
This includes issues like:-
contact issues with other family members,
care applications by Social Services,
changes to the child’s surname,
appointment of a guardian in the event of the death of the other parent.
This does not necessarily mean being included in all matters that affect the children’s lives but there is an obligation on any parent with parental responsibility to have regard for the views of any other person who has the same rights and responsibilities.
If a person with parental responsibility seriously disagrees with decisions being made re schooling for example he/she can approach the Court to make a Specific Issue Order to resolve the matter.
If a person with parental responsibility fails to reach an agreement, or is not consulted, over a fundamental issue regarding the welfare of a child, such as the appropriate school to attend or what medical treatment is appropriate, then that parent may apply to the court for a decision of the Specific Issue involved. In such circumstances they are advised to seek legal assistance.
A father has parental responsibility if
1) he was married to the other parent when the child was born
2) or his name is on the child’s birth certificate and the child was born after December 1st 2003
3) or the court has made a Residence Order in his favour or Child Arrangement Order specifiying that the child 'lives with' him.
4) if he and the mother of the child has signed an official agreement re parental responsibility. In this case there has to be an official agreement for each child.
If you’re a father who wants parental responsibility and the mother agrees, fill in a parental responsibility agreement from
In certain circumstances, where the Local Authority are involved for instance, others such as Social
Services can obtain Parental Responsibility. In such circumstances the court will give added weight to decisions made by the Local Authority on the grounds that THEY have PR
This page has been taken and adapted from The Custody Minefield Parental Separation Your Rights and the Law by Michael Robinson www.custodyminefield.com and with help from Emlyn Jones