Frodshams Solicitors Wigan St Helens Warrington
01744 626 600
Frodshams Solicitors Wigan St Helens Warrington

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Parental Responsibility Explained

Claudia Price, the Head of Frodshams Family Department explains parental responsibility.

Parental Responsibility means “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and its property.”  This enables someone who has parental responsibility to make important decisions about the child’s life.

Do I automatically have Parental Responsibility?

All mothers automatically have parental responsibility. Fathers also have parental responsibility automatically if they are married to the mother at the time of the birth of or if they are named as the father on the child’s birth certificate.

How can I obtain Parental Responsibility as an unmarried Father?

As a father, you can obtain Parental Responsibility by:

  • Entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother
  • Obtaining a Parental Responsibility Order from the Court.

If you legally adopt a child, you will immediately acquire parental responsibility.

What does parental responsibility mean?

Parental responsibility means that you are responsible for ensuring that your child’s health and wellbeing needs are met. You will also be responsible for making important decisions in the child’s life, in respect of their education, health and ongoing daily needs.

If both parents have parental responsibility, however, are unable to reach agreement upon an important decision within the child’s life, mediation would be the next step in an attempt to resolve matters or narrow the issues.  If, however, mediation is unsuccessful, you can apply to the Court for a Prohibited Steps Order or a Specific Issue Order.  The Court will then decide on your behalf, which will be in your child’s best interests.

Can Parental Responsibility be removed?

Parental Responsibility comes to an end when the child reaches 18 years of age.

If the child is under 18, the only way to remove Parental Responsibility is by a Court Order. It is extremely rare that the Court will remove Parental Responsibility from a parent as there has to be exceptional circumstances. However, the Court will weigh up what is necessary to protect the child’s wellbeing.

If you have any queries in respect of your circumstances, please call the office on 01744 626 600 and ask to speak to one of our Family Law Experts, email or visit to arrange a confidential discussion.

At Frodshams Solicitors, whatever your needs, you can rely upon us to provide legal excellence delivered with care.


Parental Responsibility Explained