Parental Responsibility Solicitors

Fixed Fee Legal Aid Available

We are a Caernarfon-based firm providing expert advice on parental responsibility to clients across North Wales, and can provide you with assistance throughout the process.

Speak to us now

What is Parental Responsibility?

In the United Kingdom, parental responsibility is a legal concept that defines the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities, and authority that parents have in relation to their children. It encompasses a wide range of responsibilities and decisions that parents are expected to make in the best interests of their child. Here, we provide an overview of parental responsibility in the UK.

What does Parental Responsibility mean in practical terms?

When certain decisions have to be taken about your child, all those with PR should have a say in that decision.

Those decisions should be more about the main aspects of how your child is ‘brought up’; Not necessarily about practical day to day decisions that the parent or person with whom the child lives makes.

If you have PR the type of decisions you make are the important ones which could include:

  • determining your child’s education such as which school they attend;
  • choosing, registering or changing your child’s name;
  • appointing a guardian in the event of your death;
  • consenting to a an operation or medical treatment;
  • determining the religion your child should be brought up with.

If you have PR it does not mean you have an automatic right to have contact with your child.

Do you have Parental Responsibility?

  • As your child’s mother you automatically have PR and will not lose it if divorced.
  • If you are married to your child’s mother you will automatically have PR and will not lose it if divorced.
  • If you are an unmarried father you do not automatically have PR.
  • If you are a Step-fathers or Step-mothers you do not automatically have PR.
  • If you are Grandparent you do not automatically have PR.

Can Unmarried fathers obtain Parental Responsibility?

Increasing couples are cohabiting rather than getting married. If you have a child together as an unmarried father you do not automatically have PR but can obtain it by:

  • marrying the mother;
  • having your name registered on the child’s birth certificate;
  • entering into a PR Agreement with the mother;
  • obtaining a PR Order from the court;
  • being named as the resident parent under a Child Arrangements Order;
  • becoming the child’s guardian on the mother’s death.

If you are in a same -sex female civil partnership or marriage, can you as second female parent gain Parental Responsibility?

As the mother’s wife/civil partner you will be treated as your child’s second legal parent if you were married or in a civil partnership at the time of conception and provided that the mother’s wife/civil partner consent to the treatment of insemination.

This applies irrespective of whether the child was conceived through fertility treatment at a licensed clinic or through artificial insemination by private arrangement at home. There is one exception where it does not apply and this is if the child was conceived through sexual intercourse.

As is the case with a married father, the civil partner/wife will automatically gain Parental Responsibility.

Legal Aid Funding Available

legal aid family lawyers
Book a free consultation

As an un-married father you can gain Parental Responsibility through agreement?

A PR Agreement can be made between you and your child’s mother.

A PR Agreement can also be entered into by a step-parent who is married to a person with PR or by a second female partner.

As an un-married father, can you gain Parental Responsibility through Parental Responsibility Order?

A PR Order is an order under the Children Act 1989, which as the unmarried father you can apply for when the mother refuses to allow you to be registered or re-registered on the birth certificate, or refuses to sign a PR Agreement with him.

The process involves you making an application to court who will then decide whether or not they should allow you to have PR.

If the court decides you should have PR, the order will give you equal PR with the mother.

What if your child’s mother opposes your Parental Responsibility Order application?

Your child’s mother can put to the Court her reasons why they should decline making a PR order.

However, the Courts will generally be willing to make you a PR Order unless it is shown that you will cause some ‘risk’ to your child’s welfare.

Book a free consultation
parental responsibility laws, removing Parental Responsibility

Those other than parents can acquire Parental Responsibility?

Parental responsibility is not automatically granted to people who are not parents, even if, in reality, they care for and are responsible for the child on a day-to-day basis. There are several ways that a person who is not the child’s parent may obtain Parental Responsibility for the child:

  • by being appointed as a guardian to care for the child if those with Parental Responsibility for the child have died;
  • by obtaining a Child Arrangements Order from the court which requires that the child lives with that person;
  • by becoming the child’s special guardian; or
  • by adopting the child.

A step-parent may make an agreement to obtain Parental Responsibility for their step-child, providing all those with Parental Responsibility agree. The step-parent must be married to or be in a civil partnership with the mother or father to enter this agreement. This is similar to the Parental Responsibility Agreement and it will not take Parental Responsibility away from those who already have it. A step-parent could also apply for a Step-Parental Responsibility Order if they are married to or in a civil partnership with the mother or father.

Local Authorities will be given Parental Responsibility if the child is under a care order and will have it temporarily under an Emergency Protection Order.

If a guardian is appointed in a will by a parent, will they receive Parental Responsibility automatically?

A parent can name a person in their will to be a guardian for their child. The will must be in writing, dated and signed by the person making the appointment. It can also be signed by someone else following the directions of the parent making the will.

The guardian will get Parental Responsibility for the child in the following circumstances:

  • where no one else has Parental Responsibility for the child OR
  • where the parent making the will has residence of the child under a Residence Order or a Child Arrangements Order.

When does your Parental Responsibility terminate?

PR terminates:

  • when your child reaches the age of 18;
  • If you die.
  • If your child is adopted;
  • where PR was given through a Child Arrangements Order, and that Order has been discharged or has expired. This would not apply to a father, unless a specific order discharges it.
  • PR can only be terminated through a court order.

Only when adoption takes place, can a mother lose her PR.

Can a court remove a father’s parental responsibility?

In the UK, courts can remove a father’s parental responsibility in specific situations, mainly if it’s in the child’s best interests. These situations may include the consent of both parents, serious criminal offenses, adoption, abandonment, or actions that endanger the child’s welfare. However, the court typically aims to maintain the child’s relationship with both parents, often imposing restrictions rather than complete removal of parental responsibility. Consulting a family law attorney for specific guidance is advisable, as laws can change over time.

Can a mother lose parental responsibility?

In the UK, a mother can potentially lose parental responsibility if her actions or circumstances pose a significant risk to the child’s welfare. This can include serious criminal offenses, adoption, abandonment, or mutual consent with the other parent. The frequency of losing mothers losing parental responsibility is not common and depends on the specific circumstances of each case, with the court prioritisng the child’s best interests.

If you as parents cannot agree on a major decision about your child?

If you are unable to agree about a decision concerning the upbringing of your child you could try family mediation.

If this fails then you may apply to the Family Court for a Specific Issue Order or a Prohibited Steps Order.

If you have PR you cannot transfer it another person.

Contact us on 01286 269226 or 07594461181 to arrange a consultation with our family law solicitor; if requested the first 20 mins will be free of charge.

Ring for free legal aid assessment

Contact our Parental Responsibility solicitors for Bangor (Gwynedd), Anglesey, Conway & Caernarfon

Call now today and get free initial advice and answers to your parental responsibility law questions:

Book a free consultation

Our Mission Statement

Our mission statement is clear – we exist to:

Winrow Solicitors

Sharon Rausch

Lisa Baker

Evi Creebsburg

John Allsop

– Ultra Precision Structures Surfaces Ltd

Myrla Yutuc

What our Clients say - Winrow Solicitors

Sharon Rausch

Lisa Baker

Evi Creebsburg

John Allsop

– Ultra Precision Structures Surfaces Ltd

Myrla Yutuc