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Divorce, domestic violence and abuse, custody, separation and maintenance

Parental Responsibility

Your rights, powers and duties

What is Parental Responsibility?
The law defines it as -

All the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.

The main thrust of Parental Responsibility is towards the parent’s duties towards the child, rather than their rights.

What does Parental Responsibility really mean?

When parents have to take important decisions about a child, those with Parental Responsibility have a say in that decision.

Other day-to-day decisions can be made by the resident parent - the one the child lives with.

So - what are these ‘important’ decisions?

They include

  • Education - which school the child is to attend.
  • Naming - choosing, registering or changing the child’s name
  • Appointing a guardian - if one parent dies, it may be necessary to take this step
  • Health or medical matters - agreeing to a medical procedure or operation.
  • Accessing medical records
  • Agreeing to overseas holidays or extended stays
  • Representing the child in legal matters
  • Determining the child’s religion.  If the child has a mixed cultural background, they should know about the religions of all those with Parental Responsibility.  This applies until the child reaches an age when they can decide for themselves.

Where does a parent not have automatic Parental Responsibility?

Being granted Parental Responsibility doesn’t mean they’re allowed to spend time with a child.

However, the parent can apply to the court information as to where the child lives.  The court is likely to allow it to be released if it’s in the best interests of the child. 

Do you ned to know more about Parental Responsibility

Ring us on 01327 358321

We can help.

Who has and who doesn’t have Parental Responsibility?


  • Mothers - and they don’t lose this responsibility if they get divorced.
  • Married fathers too.  They also retain this responsibility even in the case of divorce.
  • Unmarried fathers don’t automatically have Parental Responsibility.
  • Neither Step-fathers, Step-mothers, nor grandparents automatically have Parental Responsibility.


Advice and guidance on Parental Responsibility. Get in touch today. We’re here to help
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