Parental Responsibility

A father does not always have parental responsibility...Parental responsibility, or PR, is defined by the law as ‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority, which by law a parent has in relation to the child and the administration of his or her property’

What Can You Do With Parental Responsibility?

  • agree to the changing of a child’s name;
  • arrange the educational needs of the child, to include selecting which school they are to attend;
  • consent to medical treatment for the child;
  • determine the religion and culture of the child;
  • agree to or prohibit the issuing of a passport for the child;

This is not an exhaustive list, but instead a snapshot of those powers and responsibilities vested in an individual who has parental responsibility.


Who Has Parental Responsibility?

 A mother has automatic parental responsibility.

Parental Responsibility is not granted automatically for father’s and the situation can vary. A father will have parental responsibility if:

a.     They are or have been married to the mother of the child;

b.     They are registered on the child’s birth certificate, alongside the mother, provided the birth falls after 1 December 2003;

c.     They have obtained parental responsibility by formal agreement with the mother of the child, or parental responsibility has been granted to them by way of court order.


Parental Responsibility Advice

Often a father has been regularly exercising parental responsibility, despite not formally having it, and if you are unclear as to whether or not you have parental responsibility then do seek family legal advice. There may not be a problem until such time as your relationship with the child’s mother breaks down; if this were to occur then you could have very little say as to the child’s schooling, medical needs, religion, and you may be prevented from appointing a guardian to care for the child in the event of your death.