Do I have Parental Responsibility? The Parent Child Relationship

What is parental responsibility?

S3(1) Children Act 1989:  

‘Parental Responsibility means that 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’

S2(7) Children Act 1989:

States that where there are two or more people with parental responsibility over a child each of them may act alone in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities.

Who has Parental responsibility?

Where the parents of a child are married, each parent has parental responsibility – S2(1) Children Act 1989 

Where civil partners are parents under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, Each of the partners to the civil partnership will have parental responsibility- S2(1A) Children Act 1989

Where the parents of a child are not married nor in a civil partnership with each other, The mother will have parental responsibility and the father or other female parent ( in relation to a civil partnership)  will have to take the necessary steps to acquire parental responsibility – s2(2) and S 2(2A) Children Act 1989. 

How can a father acquire Parental responsibility?

Under s4 (1) Children Act 1989 a father of a child can gain parental responsibility in three ways:

  1. By registering as the Child’s father on the Birth Certificate
  2. By means of a Parental Responsibility agreement with the child’s mother
  3. By applying for a Parental Responsibility order through the courts 

How can the ‘The other female parent’ acquire Parental responsibility?

The other female parent who is a partner in a civil partnership with the child’s mother can gain parental responsibility under s4ZA Children Act 1989: 

  • By registering as the Child’s ’other female parent’ on the Birth Certificate
  • By means of a Parental Responsibility agreement with the child’s mother
  • By applying for a Parental Responsibility order through the courts

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For more information on:

  • How can a step parent acquire parental responsibility?
  • Child Autonomy