Child Arrangement Order
What is Parental Responsibility?
Parental Responsibility gives parents (and others) certain rights, responsibilities and duties relating to a child’s upbringing, including:
- Changing a child’s surname
- Removing a child from England & Wales
- Agreement to adoption
- Consent to marriage
- Medical treatment
- Appointment of a guardian
How does the father of a child acquire Parental Responsibility?
The mother of a child has Parental Responsibility automatically. The father of a child also has Parental Responsibility automatically if he is married to the mother at the time of the birth. If the parents are not married at the time the child is born, the father can acquire Parental Responsibility as follows:
- If he marries the mother
- If he is named on the birth certificate (if the child was born after 1
- December 2003)
- If the mother agrees to a Parental Responsibility Agreement
- If he applies to the Court and obtains a Parental Responsibility Order
- If he applies to the Court and obtains a Residence Order
- If he is appointed the child’s guardian by the mother or the Court
What about step-parents?
Step-parents do not automatically acquire Parental Responsibility for step-children when they marry and so cannot make important decisions about a child’s welfare, for example medical care. Step-parents can only acquire Parental Responsibility by obtaining an Order of the Court or by signing a Step-parent Parental Responsibility Agreement along with those who already have Parental Responsibility.
What about grandparents?
A grandparent cannot be granted Parental Responsibility by the parents of a child in the same way as a step-parent, even though the child may live with the grandparent. This may cause difficulties for the grandparent if they need to deal with the child’s GP or school. The only way to get Parental Responsibility is to apply for a Court order, which would generally be obtained along with a Residence Order or a Special Guardianship Order. Find out more about grandparent’s right
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