Court terminates father’s parental responsibility

Year Published: 2013

In the first reported judgement on the termination of ‘parental responsibility’ for a number of years and therefore a very unusual case, Mr Justice Barker terminated the parental responsibility of a father and his right to be involved in his child’s life.

The reasons for this judgement were completely understandable. In this extreme circumstance, the father had been convicted for sexual abuse of his own son’s half-sisters.

The judge found that the ‘magnetic factors’ in the case were the child’s emotional needs, the harm he had suffered and the risk of future harm. The judge indicated that the child’s emotional security would be imperilled if the father were to continue to have any further involvement in his life. The father had effectively, through his own actions, forfeited his right to be involved in his son’s life.

The above is a very unusual decision but obviously, the facts of the case were equally unique.

Fathers do, as much as mothers, have a right to be involved in their children’s lives. Fathers are granted parental responsibility now automatically if their name is on their child’s birth certificate but if not, a parental responsibility agreement can be drafted by a solicitor or an application can be submitted to court. In nine out of ten cases, an order would be granted for ‘parental responsibility’, provided that the granting of such an order is in the child’s best interests.

Should you require any advice regarding parental responsibility or any other legal issues in respect of your children please contact our Family Law team on 0161 475 7676.

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