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What is parental responsibility, who has it and how can it be obtained?

What is parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility (PR) allows an individual to make important decisions concerning the child that they hold PR for, which includes decisions about the child’s welfare and upbringing.

Section 3(1) of the Children Act 1989 defines PR 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”.

 

Who has PR automatically?

  • Mothers
  • Fathers who are married to the mother (Upon divorce this would not be lost)

 

How can an unmarried father obtain PR?

  • By being registered on the child’s birth certificate
  • By obtaining a PR order from the court
  • By entering into a PR agreement with the mother
  • By marrying the mother
  • By obtaining a Child Arrangements Order and being named as the parent with whom the child resides

 

How can another person obtain PR?

  • By obtaining a Child Arrangements Order and being named as the person with whom the child resides
  • By adopting the child
  • By becoming the child’s special guardian
  • By becoming a child’s guardian if those who hold PR for the child have died
  • A step parent if they are married to the child’s mother/father who hold PR and they have obtained consent from everyone who holds PR for the child

 

What decisions can I make in respect of the child that I hold PR for?

  • If a child can receive a certain medical treatment
  • Changing the child’s name
  • Taking the child outside of the jurisdiction
  • Decisions in respect of the child’s education
  • Appointing a guardian for the child

 

Alice Zagradski

Paralegal

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