What is Parental Responsibility?
Parental responsibility provides the holder the right to be involved in important decisions concerning the child’s upbringing.
What major decisions should I be consulted on if I have parental responsibility?
- Determining the child’s education and where the child goes to school;
- Choosing, registering or changing the child’s name;
- Appointing a child’s guardian in the event of the death of a parent;
- Consenting to a child’s operation or certain medical treatment;
- Accessing a child’s medical records;
- Consenting to taking the child abroad for holidays or extended stays;
- Representing the child in legal proceedings;
- Determining the religion the child should be brought up with. Where there is a mixed cultural background this should include exposure to the religions of all those with Parental Responsibility, until the child can reach an age where he/she can make their own decision on this.
Do I have Parental Responsibility?
Mothers automatically have parental responsibility. However, whether the father has parental responsibility depends on several factors.
Child’s birth registered before 1st December 2003
You will have parental responsibility if you were:
- Married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth
- Married the mother subsequently after the child’s birth was registered.
Child’s birth registered after 1st December 2003
You will have parental responsibility if:
- Your name is on the child’s birth certificate
- If you were married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth or if you marry the child’s mother subsequently to the child’s birth.
How can I obtain parental responsibility?
You will obtain parental responsibility if you have re-registered the child’s birth. Re-registering will require the consent of the mother.
You can enter into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother on the court form C(PRA1).
You can apply for a parental responsibility order if the mother does not provide consent. The relevant court form would be a C1 but you would be required to attempt mediation before applying for this particular order. There is a fee of £215 to apply for this particular order but there is a fee exemption form available (EX160) if you are on a low income or in receipt of income-based benefits.
Court forms can be downloaded from www.justice.gov.uk or obtained from any family court. The forms can be submitted to the family court closest to where the child resides once they have been completed.
Can Parental Responsibility be taken away?
Parental responsibility can only be removed by an adoption order being granted if it was acquired through marriage.
Parental responsibility can be removed via a court order if obtained either through a parental responsibility agreement, parental responsibility order or by being named on the child’s birth certificate. However, this is done only in very exceptional circumstances.
When does Parental Responsibility expire?
Parental Responsibility expires when:
- A young person reaches the age of 18.
- A holder of Parental Responsibility passes away
- A child or young person is adopted.
Can my new partner obtain Parental Responsibility?
It is possible for Step-Parents to get Parental Responsibility, but they must be married to one of the biological parents.
Parental Responsibility can be obtained by agreement using a C(PRA2). This should be signed by all those with Parental Responsibility and the step parent and witnessed by a justices’ clerk or an officer of the court. It can then be submitted to the Principal Registry of the Family Division to be formalised.
If you cannot agree, the step-parent can submit the form C2 for permission to apply alongside a C1 application form. There is a fee of £215 to make the application, however if you are on a low income or benefits you may be eligible for a fee reduction using an EX160 form.
The courts will consider the step parents connection to the child before granting permission, and then consider their commitment and attachment to the child and their reasons for applying. If they feel it is in the child’s best interest then they can grant the Parental Responsibility.
For further information please visit https://childlawadvice.org.uk/ and other legal advice and information surrounding Relationship Breakdowns and Parental Disputes as well as areas of Child and Education Law.
This information is correct at the time of writing (24.04.2018). The law in this area is subject to change. The Dadsnet and Coram Children’s Legal Centre cannot be held responsible if changes to the law