“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.”
A person with Parental Responsibility has the right to decide and be consulted on issues such as:
- The religious upbringing of a child;
- A child’s education;
- A child’s medical treatment; and
- The appointment of a guardian.
The following people have Parental Responsibility:
- Mothers, whether they are married or not;
- Fathers of the child, if they were married to the child’s mother at the time of the child’s birth;
- Unmarried fathers, provided the child was born after 1 December 2003 AND provided that the parents jointly registered the child’s birth;
- Those who have a residence order in force in their favour;
- Those with an adoption order in their favour; and
- Those appointed the child’s guardian.
You can obtain Parental Responsibility in the following ways:
- Seek the mother’s agreement to re-register as the child’s father on the birth certificate, if you are not named as the father;
- Seek the mother’s agreement to enter into a Parental Responsibility agreement;
- Apply to the court for permission to apply for a Parental Responsibility order;
- Be appointed the child’s guardian;
- Obtain a residence order in your favour;
- Obtain an adoption order in your favour;
- Step parents and the civil partners of parents are able to obtain Parental Responsibility if both parents with parental responsibility agree, or by a court order.
You can obtain a Parental Responsibility Agreement, which is known as a C(PRA1) form from www.justice.gov.uk or from your local family court. You will need a separate form for each child. The agreement needs to be signed and formally witnessed by an officer of the court or a Justice of the Peace. You can get a solicitor to witness the document for you or ask the court staff to witness the document.
The document must be filed at court and you ought to retain a copy. It is not sufficient for both parents to sign the Parental Responsibility Agreement alone.
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