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PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

Those in charge of a child's health and safety will be held accountable should they not meet their parental responsibility. In such cases, formal parental responsibility can be rededicated to a different family member. This could be for example an unmarried father, a step-parent or a grandparent. It is important to note that while parental responsibility can be acquired, it can also be revoked or restricted by the Family Court in rare situations and if exceptional circumstances arise.

When an individual holds parental responsibility, they must make sure they do what they can to meet the child's needs. If you are looking to obtain parental responsibility for a child, our team of expert child law solicitors can guide you through the necessary process. Alternatively, if you already hold parental responsibility but it is being challenged, we can help you to understand how you are required to act to maintain your rights.

At Ramsdens Solicitors, we always approach child law cases with the needs of the child in mind. We will prioritise ensuring their health and welfare and will guide you through any court proceedings or a child arrangements order that is mandated by the court. Call us today on 01924 431 774 or email care@ramsdens.co.uk. Alternatively, fill out an online contact form to request a call back.

WHAT IS A PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY AGREEMENT?

The biological mother of a child has automatic parental responsibility to that child, as does a father who is named on a child’s birth certificate or who is married to the biological mother. However, the unmarried partner of the biological mother, or grandparents, will need to acquire parental responsibility through a parental responsibility agreement or an Order from the Family Court. To do so, you should work with specialist child law solicitors, such as those at Ramsdens.

HOW TO APPLY FOR PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY?

Before the court will grant parental responsibility, you must meet a number of requirements, and any persons who currently hold parental responsibility for the child must either agree or the Court will need to determine the issue. There are different applications and forms for different persons and you should seek legal advice as to the appropriate form required and the process which follows. It is also sometimes appropriate to apply for parental responsibility in Family Court proceedings and in a case brought either by a person or a Local Authority (sometimes referred to as children’s or social services) when other issues are being decided.

WHAT CAN I DO IF THE OTHER PARENT DISAGREES WITH ANY ASPECT OF THE AGREEMENT?

If another parent disagrees with your formal request to acquire parental responsibility, you may instead be able to apply for a parental responsibility order. The Family Court will decide whether to grant parental responsibility to you depending on your relationship with the child and the specific factual and legal circumstances.

If the other parent disagrees with a specific aspect of your agreement, you may be able to apply for a court order, during which decisions will be made during a court hearings or mediation sessions.

FAQS ABOUT PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY AGREEMENTS

WHO HAS PARENTAL RIGHTS?

The following parties automatically have parental responsibility:

  • The biological mother
  • Fathers or second mothers in a civil relationship with the biological mother

The following parties do not automatically have parental responsibility:

  • Fathers or second mothers who are not in a civil relationship with the biological mother or who are not named on the child's birth certificate
  • Step-parents
  • Grandparents

WHAT DOES PARENTAL RIGHTS MEAN?

Parental rights is another term for parental responsibility. If an individual has the parental rights to a child, it means they have the authority to make decisions about their health and upbringing, but it also requires them to uphold their duty to make decisions that will have positive effects on the child's life.

WHEN DOES A PARENT LOSE PARENTAL RIGHTS?

The parents’ responsibility is automatically dissolved when the child reaches the age of 18. However, in cases where the child's welfare is not being seen to properly, or a parent is treating the child poorly, the Local Authority / Social Services may apply to the court to either restrict, or remove that parent's parental responsibility or share parental responsibility so that it can make decisions relating to the welfare needs of the child or young person.

WHAT IS A PROHIBITED STEPS ORDER?

A prohibited steps order may be put in place by the family court to limit a parent's responsibility to a child. For example, the court may prohibit the parent from making decisions about the child's education or healthcare.

Prohibited steps orders are always put in place with the child's best interests at the forefront of the court's intentions. This means that the duration of the order will depend on how long the court believes the child will benefit from the order.

CONTACT US

We understand how stressful and difficult navigating child law issues can be. Speak to us about your situation and objectives and we can guide you through the complex process of considering a parental responsibility agreement, or for representation should any issues arise.

Call us today on 01924 431 774 or email us at care@ramsdens.co.uk. Or, fill out an online enquiry form for a callback.