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Parental Responsibilty

Parental Responsibilty

SKU: 3.23
  • Advice

    If the parents cannot agree on who holds parental responsibility. Then an application can be sent to the court to create a Parental Responsibility Order (PRO). The decision will be based on what is regarded as the child's best interest. Furthermore, the court will take into account the following when making the decision: 

    • Commitment to the parental role;
    • Nature of the relationship with the child; and
    • The reasoning for the order itself. 


    How to obtain parental responsibility? 

    To be entitled to parental responsibility, you must have a connection of some sort with the child (e.g., father, mother, stepparent). 

    Route 1 – Parental Responsibility Agreement 

    • Agreements can be reached in private or through mediation;
    • Fathers are eligible if and when the mother of the child agrees; 
    • Stepparents have a different form; and
    • The agreement must be taken to your local family court for finalisation once it's filled.

    Route 2 – Court Proceedings 

    • Where you can reach no agreement, an application for a court order is the next step;
    • The court order itself adds up to £215; and
    • After filling out the form, you must take it to your local family court for finalisation. 

    While you might imagine that only biological parents have parental responsibility for a child, the truth is far more complicated.


    While a child's birth mother automatically has parental responsibility, this doesn't necessarily translate to the biological father. The biological father currently only has responsibility if he was married to the mother at the time of birth or has married her since. Unmarried Fathers don't automatically have parental responsibility if the child was born before 1 December 2003. These days, most unmarried fathers need to ensure their name is on the birth certificate to be perceived to have any parental responsibility.


    What is parental responsibility? 

    Parental responsibility gives one the 'rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and overall authority in a child's life. Things a person with parental responsibility can decide would include: 

    • Where the child attends a school;
    • What religious beliefs the child should practice; 
    • Picking the child's name;
    • Decisions about the child's medical treatment; and 
    • Where the child lives (note - if you share parental responsibility with someone else, you are not able to remove a child from the country without the other party's consent).


    Who can apply for parental responsibility?

    Every child deserves someone with their best interests at heart to be responsible for their welfare.

    These include:

    • Mothers are entitled to automatic parental responsibility; 
    • Fathers who are married or in a civil partnership with the mother have automatic parental responsibility;
    • Both parents' parental responsibility is not lost when there is a divorce or separation;
    • Unmarried biological fathers: who can gain parental responsibility either by agreeing with the mother, or by applying to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order, or by subsequently marrying the biological mother;
    • Stepparents, grandparents, civil partners, and same-sex partners who can acquire parental responsibility either by adopting the child or by being appointed a guardian (usually, after someone else with parental responsibility has died);
    • Special guardians who are appointed by a court to ensure a child is looked after and who can over-rule other people with parental responsibility if they think it is necessary; and
    • Local authorities: who acquire parental responsibility (usually after taking a child into care following care proceedings).


    How we can help

    The process of determining parental responsibility can be difficult for all involved, the governance of the children can be a serious sticking point as it is not uncommon for each parent to want full custody, we would ask both sides to meet with a third-party independent family advisor to decide what is best for the children. They will determine the type of “Order” required and complete all the court forms. Please note the driver in this will be the children themselves, they will be asked privately what solution they would like. It is then hoped that each adult will agree to their wish. As in every negotiation there needs to be some give and take. Ultimately if there is an impasse then the court will decide.


    In regard to the third-party independent family advisor please note we make no commission from these referrals. Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our appointed experts to lodge with the court and to act as your point of contact, they will also issue you with your Password and PIN, these will be needed to log onto your client dashboard. From your dashboard you will be able to manage and view every aspect of your case, upload documents, images, files etc. The sad truth is that children are effectively used as “bargaining chips” in such matters, this is plainly unfair as they are usually innocent of all blame. 

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