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What is Parental Responsibility and do I have it?

View profile for Jo Chidlow
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What is Parental Responsibility and do I have it?

Many parents consult us about what is meant by the phrase Parental Responsibility.  Parental Responsibility (PR) is defined under the Children Act 1989 as “All the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority, which by law a parent has in relation to the child and the administration of his or her property”.

A person with PR is responsible for the wellbeing and care of the child.  Examples of the duties and powers and rights include:

  • Consent to medical treatment.
  • Arranging the child’s education.
  • Determining the culture and religion of the child.
  • Agreeing to the child’s name change.
  • Administering a child’s property.

Mother’s automatically have PR from when the child is born.

Father’s will have PR if:

  • They are or have been married to the mother at any time since the birth of the child.
  • They are registered jointly with the child’s mother on the birth certificate, providing it is after 1 December 2003.
  • They have a formal legal agreement with the mother.
  • By Court Order.

PR is important if you wish to have some say in decisions regarding your child such as your child’s school, surname and religion.  It is particularly important with regard to medical treatment.

PR can be a complex area to navigate, and should you require any further information please feel free to contact us.

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