Dodds Solicitors Share All You Need To Know About Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility

The local Leicester law firm, Dodds Solicitors share with DLUXE all you need to know about Parental Responsibility.

Many parents often ask us as solicitors whether they will lose their parental responsibility if a Care Order, Special Guardianship Order or Child Arrangement Order (live with) is made at the conclusion of care proceedings. Often parents perceive such orders being made as stripping them of their parental responsibility. This is incorrect. There are only two ways that a parent can lose parental responsibility. We will explain in this article what parental responsibility means and who has parental responsibility. We will also explain the ways in which a parent can be stripped of their parental responsibility.

What Does Parental Responsibility Mean?

Parental Responsibility is defined in Section 3(1) of the Children Act 1989 as legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority a parent has for a child and a child’s property. A person with parental responsibility for a child has the right to make decisions about their care and upbringing. Persons with parental responsibility can make decisions such as:

  • Where the child should live
  • Who the child should have contact with
  • Where the child should attend school
  • Whether or not the child should have medical treatment
  • Giving consent for the child to leave the country

These decisions should only be made with the agreement of everyone with parental responsibility.

Who Has Parental Responsibility?

A biological mother will always automatically have parental responsibility for a child. Under section 2(1) of the Children Act 1989, if the child’s father is married to the mother at the time of the birth then he will also automatically have parental responsibility. If the parents are not married at the time of the child’s birth, he will not be granted parental responsibility automatically. A father can obtain parental responsibility in the following ways for his child:

  • By making a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the child’s mother.
  • By being granted a Parental Responsibility Order by the court under Section 4(1) Children Act 1989.
  • By being granted a Child Arrangements Order, specifying that the child live with him.
  • Being registered on the child’s birth certificate. This only applies to registration on or after the 1st December 2003.

It is also possible for a step-parent to obtain parental responsibility by way of an order or Parental Responsibility Agreement. If any individual such as grandparents are granted a Child Arrangements Order (live with), they will also have parental responsibility for the child. This means that it is possible for many people to have parental responsibility for a child at one time.

Finally, if a Local Authority is granted an Interim Care Order or Care Order during the course of the care proceedings. This will mean that they will share parental responsibility with all the people that hold it. It does not strip the parents of their parental responsibility.

How Can I Lose my Parental Responsibility?

There are only three ways that a parent can lose parental responsibility these are:

  • An Adoption Order being made
  • An order being made that a father’s parental responsibility shall be removed under Section 4(2A) Children Act 1989. This applied to fathers that have obtained parental responsibility through any method other than being married to the child’s mother at birth.
  • Death

Unless one of these things happen, a parent will always retain their parental responsibility no matter what order is granted.

For information visit the Dodds website here.
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