Saturday, 24 August 2013

Parental Responsibility

More increasingly I’m being asked about Fathers who are being denied access or are finding seeing their children difficult due to various issues so I thought it was time started  to address some of the issues involved in this vast subject.

Before I go any further I do want to thank all mothers who, despite their own personal feelings, recognise that children need both parents and therefore co-operate and allow their children full contact with their biological fathers.

My first post in this field deals with the legal rights and responsibilities of all parents.  

As a parent, you have certain legal rights and responsibilities which is known as ‘parental responsibility.’

What is Parental Responsibility in a nutshell?   

To summarise, a mother (married or unmarried) automatically has parental responsibility.  If you  are the father and were married at the time of the birth of your children, you also have automatic parental responsibility.  Divorce DOES NOT invalidate your parental responsibility.   As an unmarried Father, some parts of the UK will also automatically grant you parental responsibility if you’re named on the birth certificate but this is worth checking on and not taking for granted.  As an unmarried father, you can apply for parental responsibility either with or without your child’s mothers consent.

Verbal agreements may seem okay when things are amiable with your ex-partner but always get a copy of such agreement in writing (whether formal or informal) with your ex-partner signing and also dating the agreement. 
To have a Parental Responsibility arrangement legally recognised, fill in a Parental Responsibility Agreement form (also known as Form C(PRA1) ).  Take the agreement to your local county court or family proceedings court, where it can be signed and witnessed.  Also take the child’s birth certificate and proof of your identity, like a passport or driving licence.
Then send 2 copies of the form to the following address:
Principal Registry of the Family Division
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn

If you want parental responsibility but can’t agree on arrangements with the mother, you will have to apply for a court order from your local county court/family proceedings court  which currently costs  £215.

If you have parental responsibility for a child you don’t live with, you don’t necessarily have a right to contact with them - but the other parent still needs to keep you updated about their well-being and progress.
You’re also responsible for:
·         disciplining the child
·         choosing and providing for the child’s education
·         agreeing to the child’s medical treatment
·         naming the child and agreeing to any change of name
·         looking after the child’s property
Parents have to ensure that their child is supported financially, whether they have parental responsibility or not.
More information about Parental Responsibility and the forms needed to apply for it can be found at

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