Parental rights and responsibility
What is parental responsibility?
All mothers and most of the fathers have legal rights and responsibilities as a parent and that is known as Parental Responsibility.
If you have parental responsibility then your roles include the following;
- Provide a home for the child;
- Protect and maintain the child.
However, you do not necessarily have a right to contact a child with whom you do not live with but have parental responsibility. Whereas, the other parent with whom the child lives with needs to keep you updated about their well-being and development.
The responsibilities include the following;
- Providing and deciding for the child’s education;
- Disciplining the child;
- Naming the child and agreeing to any change of name;
- Taking care of child’s property;
- Agreeing to any child’s medical treatment.
It should be noted that parents have to make sure that their child is financially supported regardless whether they have parental responsibility or not.
Births Registered in England and Wales
A mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child from birth, whereas a father doesn’t unless the following applies;
- The father is married to the child’s mother;
- The father is listed on birth certificate (after a certain date, depending on which part of the UK the child was born in);
Both parents have parental responsibility if they have jointly adopted a child or if they were married at the time when the child was born. In that case both parents keep the parental responsibility even if they later divorce.
However, parental responsibility can be applied for if you do not have it automatically.
Nonetheless, an unmarried father can only get legal responsibility for his child in one the following three ways;
- jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother (from 1 December 2003);
- getting a parental responsibility agreement with the mother;
- getting a parental responsibility order from a court.
Births registered in Northern Ireland
A father has parental responsibility if he’s married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth.
If the marriage takes place between the couple after the child’s birth then the father has parental responsibility subject to him living in Northern Ireland at the time of the marriage. However, an unmarried father has parental responsibility only if he’s named, or becomes named, on the child’s birth certificate from 15 April 2002.
Births registered in Scotland
If the couple is married to each other at the time the child is conceived then the father has parental responsibility or if he marries her at any point afterwards.
However, since, 4th May 2006 an unmarried father has parental responsibility too if he is named on the child’s birth certificate.
Births registered outside the UK
If a child is born abroad and then comes to live in UK, the parental responsibility will depend on the UK country they are now living in.
Same-sex partners who were civil partners at the time of the treatment will both have parental responsibility.
For non-civil partners who are same-sex partners, the 2nd parent can get parental responsibility by either:
- applying for parental responsibility if a parental agreement was made; or
- becoming a civil partner of the other parent and then making a parental agreement or jointly registering the birth will give them parental responsibility.
We at Sabeers Stone Greene LLP can assist you in obtaining parental responsibility with as little stress as possible.