Parental Responsibility Disputes

Parental responsibility is the right to make key decisions about a child’s welfare such as issues relating to their education, health and day to day care.

Parental responsibility will give the parents, not only the right to make decisions in relation to the children, but also a responsibility to act in the best interests of the child and to ensure their wellbeing is always protected.

Mothers and biological fathers who are married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth acquire parental responsibility for that child automatically. Unmarried fathers will also acquire parental responsibility by being named as the father on the child’s birth certificate

Parental responsibility will also be automatically given to a person that benefits from a residence order or a lives with order in their favour.

In the event that neither of the above circumstances apply, parental responsibility can be obtained by either:

  • Entering into a parental responsibility agreement;
  • Making an application to the court for parental responsibility;

Step-parents can also obtain parental responsibility for a child by signing a parental responsibility agreement. The agreement will need to be signed by all of those who hold parental responsibility for a child, or by a court order.

When the identity of the father of the child is disputed, either party can make an application to the court for a declaration of parentage. This will entitle the father to then make an application for parental responsibility, or to make an application to change the child’s birth certificate and include his name as the child’s father.

If you would like to discuss this matter with one of our specialist solicitors, please contact us on 020 8290 7341 or 020 8290 0333 to make an appointment

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