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 are married, both will have parental responsibility. A father who has never been married to a child’s mother does not automatically have parental responsibility but can acquire it by:
- agreement with the child’s mother recorded in a parental responsibility agreement;
- (since Dec 2003) by jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother; or
- by a parental responsibility order, made by the Court.
A step-parent can also acquire parental responsibility either by agreement or Court Order as can other relatives who are taking care of children. We recommend that you speak to us about the best way to make these arrangements that suits your particular circumstances.
If you would like to speak with one of our team, we offer free initial advice appointments. For more information, please telephone 01380 733300 or 01225 896100.