This is the first in a series of posts about parental responsibility.
Who Has Parental Responsibility in UK family law?
The mother of a child always has parental responsibility. This can only be removed if a child is adopted or placed for adoption under a a placement order.
The married father of a child has parental responsibility (whether he was married to the mother of the child before or after it was born).
If the child’s birth was registered before 1st December 2003: the unmarried father of a child will have parental responsibility if he and the mother have signed a parental responsibility agreement (and completed the necessary formalities – see later in this document for more information) or the court has made an order saying that he should have parental responsibility.
If the child’s birth was registered after 1st December 2003: the unmarried father will have parental responsibility if he is named as the father on the birth certificate. This can include situations where the birth is re-registered to include the father’s details if they were not there before but ironically not to include unmarried father’s who were already on the birth certificate before 1.12.03. The unmarried father cannot have his name put on the birth certificate without his consent.
A step-parent, provided that all those with parental responsibility agree in writing (similar to the parental responsibility agreement for unmarried fathers).
A civil partner can acquire parental responsibility with the agreement of the other partner if they have PR. If the child’s other parent has PR they must agree as well. Civil partners can also acquire PR if they have a residence order or on adoption.
Anyone who has a residence order (an order saying that the child should live with them) as long as the order is in force.
The local authority if a care order has been made.
The adoption agency when a placement order is made and prospective adopters when a child is placed with them following a placement order being made.
Someone who has been appointed as the child’s legal guardian (not the same as a guardian appointed to represent the child in court).
The holder of a Special Guardianship order.