Rather than setting out the ‘rights’ of parents, the law talks about ‘parental responsibility’ for a child. This term includes responsibilities in relation to issues such as a child’s education, medical treatment, religion, name, discipline and protection.
A mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child. If a child’s parents were married when the child was born or subsequently, both will have parental responsibility for the child. A father who has never been married to a child’s mother does not automatically have parental responsibility but can acquire it by: