Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility is defined in law as all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent has in relation to the child and administration of his or her property.

A person with parental responsibility must be consulted in all major decisions relating to the child for example: the child’s name, where the child should go to school, educational issues, where the child should live, whether the child should be taken outside the UK and whether the child should have any medical treatment.

A mother automatically claims parental responsibility for a child however the father will only have parental responsibility if they are or have been married to the mother since the birth of the child or if child was born after the 1st December 2003 they are named on the child’s birth certificate.

In some circumstances it can be possible for other people, for example a step parent or a biological father who was not married to the child’s mother or named on the birth certificate, to obtain Parental Responsibility. This can be obtained by agreement that is formally recorded and sent to the Principal Registry in London. If an agreement cannot be reached, then an application to court for parental responsibility may be an option.

The law surrounding parental responsibility of children conceived by people in LGBT relationships can be complicated. Who has it depends on circumstances sounding conception. The law in this area is still emerging. You should seek legal advice accordingly for tailored advice to your circumstances.