Parental responsibility is defined as ‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child’.
That means, if you have parental responsibility, you are recognised in the eyes of the law as having all the legal powers to make appropriate decisions in relation to the upbringing of your child.
On a practical level it will allow you, for example, to contact your child’s GP to obtain or discuss medical treatment for your child, and to play an active role in your child’s education, giving you access to school reports and parents’ meetings.
A mother automatically has parental responsibility, as does a married father irrespective of whether the marriage to the mother occurred before or after the birth of the child.
Some people are shocked to discover that, where the parents of a child are unmarried, it is only the mother who has automatic parental rights with regard to the child. However, a father not married to the mother of the child can get parental rights by:
Before the Court will make an order granting parental responsibility, a father would need to establish that there is a degree of commitment to the child, a degree of attachment exists between the child and the father, and that the application is being made purely in the interests of the child’s welfare.
Once you have parental responsibility, it must be exercised appropriately and jointly with the mother of the child.
Parental responsibility comes to an end when the child attains the age of 21, years or earlier if a Court order is made.
Yeo Law’s team of family law experts can help you understand your options and draft a Parental Responsibility Agreement for a fixed fee. Call us on 62203400 or request a call using our online form.