I was never married – what parental rights do I have?

by EdwardHandsandLewis on July 30, 2013

1363p Faye Remnant from Edward Hands and Lewis

By Faye Remnant

The legal rights and responsibilities of mothers and fathers are known as ‘parental responsibility’. The most important duties of someone with parental responsibility are to protect and maintain the child, provide the child with a home, consenting to medical treatment, looking after the child’s property, disciplining the child, choosing and providing the education of the child and naming the child.


Without parental responsibility the parent has no right to do such things as consent to the child’s medical treatment or be involved in the child’s education


If you have parental responsibility of a child but you do not live with them, the other parent will still need to keep you updated with their progress and well-being. Although parental responsibility does give you the legal right to see the child it does not guarantee contact.


Parents are required to look after their child financially regardless of whether they have parental responsibility or not.


Who has parental responsibility?

If the parent’s are married when the child is born then they will both have parental responsibility.

If the mother is not married she will have automatic parental responsibility of the child from birth.

If the father is not married to the child’s mother he may not have parental responsibility unless:

–          The father is jointly registered on the birth certificate with the mother after 1st December 2013

–          The father has a parental responsibility agreement with the mother

–          The father has a parental responsibility order from a court

Same-sex couples

–          If the couple are civil-partnered then both partners will have parental responsibility for the child.

–          If the couple are not civil partnered then the second partner will not have parental responsibility but can apply for it.


How can I get parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility can be attained by:

–          marrying the mother of the child and jointly registering the birth

–          creating a parental responsibility agreement with the mother of the child

–          applying for a court order if you cannot agree arrangements with the child’s mother

–          applying for parental responsibility if a parental agreement was made

–          becoming a civil partner of the other parent and making a parental responsibility agreement or jointly registering the birth


Find out more from Edward Hands and Lewis here

www.ehlsolicitors.co.uk Edward Hands & Lewis is a firm that has evolved over time with a commitment to its core values. We have never forgotten that we are here because of our clients who have supported us over many years. We are proud to be at the heart of the communities in which we serve and we are equally proud of the team that we have to provide such service. We aim to provide value for money with a commitment to good, clear and concise advice. We take the time to ensure that our advice and assistance matches your goals. Unlike many professional services organisations, brevity and helpfulness are our watchwords. The agile and creative minds of the people we employ equip them to advise the same client on a diverse range of matters. This multi-specialism makes our lawyers and advisors expert on a range of the legal and other issues affecting their clients’ business. The strength and depth of our client relationships avoids wasted time and cost: it enables us to keep up to speed on business and sectoral developments and there is no need to field large teams of experts as a matter of course. While we have been established for many years, we pride ourselves on forward-thinking and believe we have achieved the right blend between traditional and modern. Whether you are an existing client of ours, are about to become a client or are looking to join us, we sincerely hope that your experience is a positive one.

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