Firstly, what is Parental Responsibility?

All mothers and most fathers have legal rights and responsibilities as a parent – “parental responsibility “
If you have Parental Responsibility there are two important roles that you must fulfil. These are to provide a home for the child and to protect and maintain the child. You are responsible for disciplining the child, choosing and providing for their education, agreeing to medical treatment, naming the child and agreeing to any change of name and finally looking after the child’s property.

Who has Parental Responsibility ?

A Mother automatically has Parental Responsibility for her child from birth.
A father usually has Parental Responsibility if he is either :-
– Married to the child’s mother
– Listed on the birth certificate

Married parents

If a child’s parents are married when the child is born or if they have jointly adopted the child then they both have Parental Responsibility

Unmarried parents

An unmarried father can obtain Parental Responsibility for his child in one of three ways:-
– If he jointly registered the birth of the child with the mother (on or after 1st December 2003)
– By obtaining a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother
– By obtaining a Parental Responsibility Order from a court

Same sex Parents

Civil Partners

Same sex parents will both have Parental Responsibility if they were civil partners at the time of the treatment , eg , donor insemination or fertility treatment

Non Civil Partners

For same sex partners who are not Civil Partners the second parent can get Parental responsibility by either :-
– Applying for Parental Responsibility if a Parental agreement has been made
– Becoming a civil partner of the other parent and making a Parental Responsibility Agreement or jointly registering the birth


For more information on Civil Partnerships, please contact Noelle Heath on 033 3344 9600 or contact us via our
contact page.