What is Parental Responsibility? PR
“all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.
It should not be thought that having PR is about your rights but instead about your child’s rights. Focus more on your duty as a parent towards your child rather than your rights over your child.
What does PR 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:
If you have PR it does not mean you have an automatic right to have contact with your child:
Do you have PR?
Unmarried fathers can obtain PR?
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:
If you are in a same -sex female civil partnership or marriage can you as second female parent gain PR?
As the mother’s wife/civil partner you will be treated as your child’s second legal parent if you were married or in aat 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 PR.
As an un-married father you can gain PR 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 you can gain PR 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 PR 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.
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:
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 aand will have it temporarily under an .
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:
When does your PR terminate?
Only when adoption takes place, can a mother lose her PR.
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.
If this fails then you may apply to the Family Court for aor a Prohibited Steps Order.