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Parental responsibility

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The Children Act alters the emphasis for parents from parental rights to parental responsibility, which includes rights, duties, responsibilities and authority a parent has with respect to a child.

A mother automatically has parental responsibilty.

A father gains parental responsiblity:

  • by being married to the mother, before or after the birth of the child
  • by formal agreement with the mother
  • by application in a parental responsibility order
  • by gaining a residence order or appointment as a guardian
  • also from December 2003, an unmarried father may also gain parental responsibility if both parents register the birth of their child (1)

Others can gain parental responsibilty:

  • by gaining a residence order or appointment as a guardian
  • by adoption

Once granted, parental resposibility can only be removed by a court:

  • by application from another person with parental responsibilty
  • by application by the child


  1. PRLEAF1 - PPSPG/1003/8753

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