Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility is defined as ‘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’.

While the Law does not define in detail what parental responsibility is, the following list sets out the key roles:

  • providing a home for the child
  • having contact with and living with the child
  • protecting and maintaining the child
  • disciplining the child
  • choosing and providing for the child's education
  • determining the religion of the child
  • agreeing to the child's medical treatment
  • naming the child and agreeing to any change of the child's name
  • accompanying the child outside the UK and agreeing to the child's emigration, should the issue arise
  • being responsible for the child's property
  • appointing a guardian for the child, if necessary
  • allowing confidential information about the child to be disclosed

Who has parental responsibility?
In England and Wales, if the parents of a child are married to each other at the time of the birth, or if they have jointly adopted a child, then they both have parental responsibility. Parents do not lose parental responsibility if they divorce, and this applies to both the resident and the non-resident parent.

This is not automatically the case for unmarried parents. According to current Law, a mother always has parental responsibility for her child. A father, however, has this responsibility only if he is married to the mother when the child is born or has acquired legal responsibility for his child through one of these three routes:

  • (from 1 December 2003) by jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother
  • by a parental responsibility agreement with the mother
  • by a parental responsibility order, made by a Court

The above information is from the Directgov website.

If you are at all in doubt as to whether you have parental responsibility for your child, please contact a member of our family team immediately who will be able to clarify this for you. If necessary, we will proceed to draft a parental responsibility agreement or submit an application the Court on your behalf.

Please contact our Family Law Team by telephone on 01392 209209. If you choose to email, please provide a contact telephone number and we will call you at the earliest opportunity.

Nick Dudman: 01392 209210.
Susan Jury: 01392 209212.

Get In Touch

Call NOW 01392 209209

Get In Touch

Call NOW 01392 209209