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Parental Responsibility

A mother always has Parental Responsibility (PR) for a child.

It is not as straight forward for fathers. If the father is married to the mother of the child he will automatically have PR (even if the marriage comes after the birth of the child).

If the father is not married to the mother of the child then he will only have Parental Responsibility automatically if he is registered on the child’s birth certificate as father to the child and the child was born after the 1st December 2003.

If the father is not married to the mother of the child and the child was born before the 1st December 2003 the father will not have Parental Responsibility for the child automatically.

If a father does not have Parental Responsibility only the mother will have the right and duties to the child individually deciding where the child should be educated, consent to medical treatment etc.

The father does not need Parental Responsibility to be a father to the child but he can take steps in a number of ways:-

a) Marry the mother;
b) With the consent of the Mother – sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement;
c) Court Order – Children Act 1989 (Section 1)

Step parents can also obtain Parental Responsibility for a step-child by entering into a Consent Parental Responsibility Step-Parent agreement or via Court Order.

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