How do you get parental responsibility?

We have previously explained what parental responsibility is. In this post we will explain how it can be acquired.

The mother of a child automatically acquires parental responsibility when the child is born, irrespective of whether she is married to the father.

If the father of the child was married to the mother at the time the child was born, then he will also automatically acquire parental responsibility.

An unmarried father of a child can acquire parental responsibility in the following ways:

• For children born since the 1st December 2003, by being registered as the father on the child’s birth certificate;

• With the agreement of the mother: he and the mother must sign a ‘Parental Responsibility Agreement’ and complete certain formalities, including sending two copies of the agreement to The Central Family Court in London;

• By obtaining a child arrangements order providing that the child should live with him – the court will also grant him parental responsibility; or

• By obtaining a parental responsibility order. The court will normally make such an order, unless there is a good reason why it should not (note that the objection of the mother is not in itself a good reason).

Other people can also obtain parental responsibility, for example:

• A step-parent, by entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the biological parents, or if the court makes an order giving them parental responsibility;

• Anyone else who has a child arrangements order naming them as the person the child should live with, for as long as the order is in force;

• The adoptive parents, if the child is adopted (the biological parents will lose parental responsibility); and

• Someone who has been appointed as the child’s legal guardian.

If you require further information regarding parental responsibility, Family Law Café can help. To contact us click the Contact link above and fill in the form, or call us on 020 3904 0506.

Image: Penguin Parents, by Christopher Michel, licensed under CC BY 2.0.