Parental responsibility

This means all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that a parent of a child has by law. More than one person may have parental responsibility for the same child at the same time, and a person does not cease to have such responsibility solely because some other person subsequently also acquires it.

Both parents have parental responsibility if they were married to each other at the time of the child’s birth, although they may have since separated or divorced.

If the child’s parents were not married at the time of the birth, the mother has parental responsibility for the child, and the father is able to acquire parental responsibility for the child if he: marries the mother of the child; enters into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother; registers the child’s birth jointly with the mother (effective from 1 December 2003, but not retrospective); or applies to the court for a parental responsibility order.

A residence order confers parental responsibility on the holder for the duration of the order. Parental responsibility passes to the adopter when an adoption order is made. Although a care order confers parental responsibility on an LA, the LA will not be treated as a parent for certain purposes under the Education Acts.

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