Parental Responsibility Agreements

What is Parental Responcibility?

Parental Responsibility is the legal term that means all the rights, duties, powers responsibilities and authority’ that go with being a parent, It means that you have a duty to care for and protect the child.

If the parents of a child are married to each other, or have jointly adopted a child, then they both have parental responsibility. This is not automatically the case for unmarried parents.

If you are the father of a child or children whose birth was registered before 1st December 2003 and you are not married to their mother, you do not automatically have ‘Parental Responsibility’.

With more than one in three children now born outside marriage, some parents may be unclear about who has legal responsibility for their children.

Why do I need it?

You don’t need it for most everyday things, but it gives you the legal right to be consulted about the big decisions in a child’s life, as you will see when you read on.

  • It means you can consent to medical treatment for a child.
  • You can choose the child’s school.
  • You can apply for a passport for him/her.
  • You may be asked to consent to the child’s marriage if he/she wants to marry before they are 18.
  • It means that if the child is entitled to any property, you have the right to look after it for the child.
  • If sadly the child/children’s mother were to die, not having automatic parental responsibility would mean the father would have to apply to the court for an order to enable him to care for his child/children.

For many families a Parental Responsibility Agreement confirms, legally, what they feel is the position anyway, and helps everyone to feel more secure.