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What is parental responsibility?

Friday, December 4th, 2015

If you are currently going through separation, it is crucial that you are aware of parental responsibility (PR). This article explains what parental responsibility is and who retains it. If you require any other information or support please visit www.knbp.co.uk or call 01675430125.

Parental responsibility means the legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority a parent has for a child and the child?s property. A person who has parental responsibility for a child has the right to make decisions about their care and upbringing. Important decisions in a child?s life must be agreed with anyone else who has parental responsibility.

The following are examples of important decisions in a child?s life that should have the agreement of everyone with parental responsibility:

  • Where a child lives
  • Whether or not a child has medical treatment
  • How and where a child is educated
  • Which, if any, religion a child follows
  • Deciding a child?s name and registering their birth
  • Giving consent for a child to leave the country, whether for a holiday or permanently.

Supporting children financially

Parental responsibility does not affect the duty a parent has to maintain their child financially ? all parents have a duty to pay towards their child?s upbringing, whether or not they have parental responsibility.

Day-to-day parenting

Day-to-day decisions are made by the person who is looking after their child at that time; they don?t have to be agreed with each person with parental responsibility.

This doesn?t mean parents shouldn?t discuss what they think is appropriate on a day-to-day level. It is helpful if parents agree on how to tackle issues such as discipline, bedtimes, and homework, but if you don?t agree on these things then neither parent can force the issue with the other.

A parent can decide who a child sees when they are with them. If you or your child?s other parent wants to introduce a new partner to your child, ideally both parents should discuss how it might affect your child and how they feel. You cannot prevent your child?s other parent introducing a new partner to your child, unless the new partner would pose a risk to your child.

Who automatically has parental responsibility?

The following people automatically have parental responsibility:

  • All birth mothers
  • Fathers married to the mother at the time the child was born
  • Fathers who are not married to the mother, but are registered on the child?s birth certificate. The registration or re-registration must have taken place after December 2003
  • Civil partners and partners of mothers registered as the child?s legal parent on the birth certificate.
Source: Gingerbread


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