Parental Responsibility

Our experienced family lawyers can advise you on mothers’ and fathers’ rights, and routes to obtaining parental responsibility including parental responsibility agreements and parental responsibility orders.

What is parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility (often referred to as ‘PR’) is all the rights, duties, powers, responsibility and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to a child or their property. It relates to making the major decisions in a child’s life for example, consent to medical treatment or trips abroad, arrangements for education or religious upbringing and change of name.

Who has parental responsibility?

The mother of a child has automatic parental responsibility for a child. The father does not unless he is married to the mother, but can acquire it by:

  • Marrying the mother after the child is born
  • Being registered as the child’s father on their birth certificate
  • Entering into a formal Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother and
  • The Court making a Parental Responsibility Order

Step-parents may also acquire PR by way of a formal Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother (and father with PR if appropriate) or by way of a Parental Responsibility Order.

There is an expectation on parents to work cooperatively in the exercise of parental responsibility for the benefit of their children. There is also scope under the law for just one person with PR to make decisions – especially day-to-day decisions – about a child. Only in a limited number of situations must all those with PR for a child make a joint decision: changing a child’s name, or moving the child out of England and Wales on a permanent basis.

This is an area of the law which can be complex and which can lead to disputes, so we recommend that you take legal advice if you are in any doubt about parental responsibility or mothers’ and fathers’ rights.Our Exeter based family law team can advise you in relation to all aspects of the obtaining and exercising of parental responsibility.

Please direct any initial enquiries to Mark Fairchild, Family Team Administrator.

The Team
Amy Jeffery
Amy Jeffery

Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

Heidi Davey
Heidi Davey

Chartered Legal Executive

Mark Fairchild
Mark Fairchild

Administrator

Nicky Mein
Nicky Mein

Managing Partner and Solicitor

Penny Scott
Penny Scott

Partner and Solicitor

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