Child Social Care

Parental Responsibility Agreement

What is Parental Responsibility?

Parental responsibility is all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority in relation to a child. Those with parental responsibility (or who have a Parental Responsibility Agreement) are responsible for the upbringing of a child and can make decisions regarding the child’s health, education and welfare.

What is a Parental Responsibility Agreement?

A Parental Responsibility Agreement is a contract entered into by both parents. The agreement allows them to have parental responsibility for the wellbeing of their child.

The Agreement gives the father the right to be consulted when the mother makes major decisions regarding the welfare of the child. These can include; their education, religious upbringing and medical care.

Who has Parental Responsibility?

All mothers and most fathers have legal rights and responsibilities as a parent, this is referred to as ‘parental responsibility’.

A mother will automatically have parental responsibility for the child from birth. However, for the father, it is a little more complex:

  • A father will typically have parental responsibility if he is either:
    • Married to this child’s mother, or
    • Is listed on the birth certificate (after a certain date, depending on which part of the UK the child was born in).

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What if I am not married to my child’s mother?

An unmarried father can get parental responsibility for his child if:

  • He jointly registers the birth of the child with the mother (from the 1st December 2003), or
  • Obtains a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother, or
  • He obtains a Parental Responsibility Order from the Court.

Why is it important to have a Parental Responsibility Agreement?

It is really important that if you are involved with a child’s care and upbringing that you have a Parental Responsibility Agreement to enable you to be involved with the decision making for the child.

In cases where parents have separated and there is a non-resident parent, it is equally important for you to be involved in the decision making and, without a Parental Responsibility Agreement, this will not happen.

If you either don’t know if you have Parental Responsibility for your child or have any questions about obtaining a Parental Responsibility Agreement, then please contact us at Ringrose Law and we would be happy to advise you.

Will I have to go to Court?

In making any decisions about a child, the Court will take into account the child’s welfare as the paramount consideration and will only make an Order if it is better to make one than not.

In order to satisfy the Court that you should be granted parental responsibility, they will require evidence that you have shown commitment to the child and that you have an attachment to the child. The Court will want to know your reasons for wanting to apply for the Parental Responsibility Order. The Court decide whether it is in the best interests of that child for the Order to be made.

How can we help?

We have a dedicated team of specialists that can help you with your matter. For further information and advice contact the Ringrose Law Children Team in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford and Newark.

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    Costa KyriacouPartner & Head of Children Law
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