Help with parental responsibility disputes in Cumbria..

What is parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility is defined as all the rights duties, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to his/her child and his/her property.  In practical terms, parental responsibility covers:

  • Education arrangements e.g. which school a child attends.
  • Consent to medical treatment.
  • The right to information e.g. school and medical reports.
  • The right to apply for a passport.
  • Matters concerning children's assets.
  • Consent to the removal of a child from the jurisdiction for the purpose of a holiday or permanently.
  • Consent to marriage of a child.
  • The appointment of a guardian. 

Do you have parental responsibility?

  • Birth mothers automatically acquire parental responsibility.
  • If the child was born on or after 1 December 2003, an unmarried father who is registered on the birth certificate at the time of initial registration will automatically obtain parental responsibility. If the unmarried father is not registered, he will not automatically acquire parental responsibility.
  • When the father is married to the mother either at the time of the child's birth or subsequently, the father attains parental responsibility.

How is parental responsibility obtained?

 If you do not automatically have parental responsibility, it can be obtained in a number of ways: 

  • By the natural father entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother. The mother must consent.
  • If the mother does not consent, the natural father can obtain a Parental Responsibility order from the court. The court will consider: the degree of commitment between the father and the child; the degree of attachment between the father and the child; and the father's motives.
  • By any person e.g. parent, grandparent, relative etc obtaining a Residence Order from the court. In this event, the person with the Residence Order will share parental responsibility with any other person with parental responsibility.
  •  A local authority can obtain parental responsibility on the granting of a Care Order in its favour. In this event, parental responsibility will be shared.

How is parental responsibility lost?

 Parental responsibility can be lost in the following circumstances: 

  • When the child attains the age of 18.
  • When the court makes an order transferring parental responsibility for welfare the reasons.
  • Upon the making of an adoption order. 
  •  When parental responsibility is obtained from a Residence Order and the Residence Order is discharged. 

How we can help

  • If you are seeking parental responsibility and believe the mother will consent, you can  complete a Parental Responsibility Agreement which will give you parental responsibility.
  • If you are a step parent, you can also complete a Step Parent Parental Responsibility Agreement (which must be consented to by all parents with parental responsibility).
  • If the parent with parental responsibility does not agree to enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement, then we can assist you with making an application for a Parental Responsibility Order through the courts.
  • If there are no urgent child protection issues, we can help you negotiate parental responsibility through letters, mediation or collaborative law, taking into account all relevant issues. If you are unable to reach an agreement or in cases where there are urgent child protection issues we can assist you in bringing or defending an application for parental responsibility through the courts.

Need further advice?

If you need more detailed advice about obtaining parental responsibility call us on (01228) 829530 or request a free case assessment.