Parental responsibility is defined as being all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent has in relation to a child and their property.
Mothers automatically have parental responsibility.
Fathers also have it if they are married to the mother, or if they were registered on the child’s birth certificate after 1st December 2003. Fathers can acquire parental responsibility by signing a formal agreement with the mother or by applying to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order.
Parental Responsibility and Decision Making
Parents can exercise their responsibility independently of one another on a day-to-day basis. However, we often find that problems can arise with separated parents when one parent uses their responsibility to attempt to control what the other parent does whilst the child is in their care. The courts are clear that the rights and responsibilities of a parent is not a weapon to be used to interfere in the day-to-day management of a child’s life.
That said, there may be situations where caring and responsible parents are unable to reach an agreement on major issues which affect a child’s life. Often this is in relation to education, medical treatment or which religion the child should follow.
In this situation, an application can be made to the court for a Judge to determine the outcome and grant a Specific Issue Order. The welfare of the child will be the court’s paramount consideration in making its decision.
For more information on your responsibilities as a parent, please contact our Family Law team on 0161 475 7676.