Parental Responsibility – Do you have parental responsibility and what is it?

Childcare Solicitors Leicester
Childcare Solicitors Leicester

What is Parental Responsibility?


Parental responsibility is defined in law as being “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property.”

Why is it important?

Individuals who have parental responsibility for a child are able to make important decisions concerning that child, such as:-

  • Where the child should live;
  • Where they should go to school;
  • What religion they should practice;
  • What name they should have ;
  • The giving or withholding of medical treatment; and
  • Dealing with their money or property.

Who has Parental Responsibility?

A mother of a child automatically has parental responsibility.

However, if you are a father of a child, you can only have parental responsibility if the following situations apply to you:-

  1. A father who is married to the child’s mother when the child is born will automatically have parental responsibility;
  2. A father who subsequently marries the child’s mother after the birth will acquire parental responsibility on marriage;
  3. A father of a child born after the 1st of December 2003 who is present when the child’s birth is registered and is named as the father on the child’s birth certificate will have parental responsibility.

How do I get parental responsibility?

If your child was born after 1 December 2003 and you were not married and have not been married to the mother of the child, you can obtain parental responsibility by:-

  1. Re-registering the child’s birth to add your name onto the birth certificate, which will then give you parental responsibility. You will need the consent of the mother in order to be able to do this.
  2. You can enter into a “Parental Responsibility Agreement “with the mother of your child. This is a legal agreement which states that the child’s father will have parental responsibility. You will need the consent of the mother to be able to enter into such an agreement.
  3. If you and the mother of your child cannot reach an agreement about parental responsibility, you can make an application to the Court asking the Court to make a Parental Responsibility Order.

Step Parents

If you are a step parent, then you also can acquire parental responsibility for your step child by entering into a Step Parental Agreement with the child’s natural parents.  You can also apply to the Court for an Order.

There are circumstances when children may live with other family members who are not their parents, such as aunts, uncles and grandparents.  If you are a relative caring for a child, then you may also be able to acquire parental responsibility for that child if you have a Child Arrangements Order.

At Josiah Hincks Solicitors, we have a dedicated and experienced Family Law Team. If you would like more information, or wish to obtain parental responsibility for a child, please contact a Family team member at our offices on:

Leicester: 0116 255 1811

Syston: 0116 344 0210

Blaby: 0116 264 3430

Market Harborough: 01858 462 462

Coalville: 01530 835 041