Home > The Court Process > Parental Responsibility: Have it? Need it? Get it.

Parental Responsibility: Have it? Need it? Get it.

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 10 Dec 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Parental Responsibility Guide Father

What is Parental Responsibility?

Parental responsibility is the right to have a say in decisions affecting your child's upbringing. It is important to note that this is not general day-to-day decision making (eg can they have a biscuit after tea, can they play on Xbox before homework etc). Please note having PR does not give an automatic right to contact.

However, it is a right to have a say in the more important or major decisions. For example:

  • Which school your child attends
  • Whether they can go abroad on holiday
  • Any serious medical issues such as surgery
  • Changing their name
  • Whether they can move to live abroad
  • Parental responsibility ends when a child turns 18 years old (ie legally becomes an adult), or if they marry before the age of 18.

    Parental responsibility cannot be removed if the child's parents were married. However it can be removed by application to the courts if the parents were not married.

    Note: If you don't have parental responsibility, it doesn't mean that you don't have to pay child maintenance - the two are dealt with separately. Don't avoid getting parental responsibility so that you don't have to pay money - it doesn't work like that.

    If you have parental responsibility and are not consulted on important decisions about your child's life, or your views are ignored, you can apply to the court for a Specific Issue Order. The court will then decide the particular matter in dispute.

    Who automatically gets parental responsibility?

    Mothers automatically receive parental responsibility over a child they give birth to. For fathers, the situations in which parental responsibility is automatically given depends upon which part of the UK the child is born:

    England and Wales

    Automatically get parental responsibility if:
      1 - married at time of birth; or
      2 - jointly registered the birth with the mother, from 01/12/03; or
      2 - have a signed Parental Responsibility Agreement; or
      4 - have a Parental Responsibility Order from the court.

    Scotland

    Automatically get parental responsibility if:
      1 - married at time of conception or any time thereafter; or
      2 - named on the birth certificate, from 04/05/06.

    Northern Ireland

    Automatically get parental responsibility if:
      1 - married at time of birth; or
      2 - marry at any time after, as long as live in Northern Ireland at time of marriage; or
      3 - named on the birth certificate, from 15/04/02.

    How to get parental responsibility

    If you don't qualify for automatic parental responsibility, then there are two ways to obtain it.

    If the mother agrees: you can both sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement

      1 - Obtain a draft parental responsibility agreement Court Form C(PRA1)
      2 - Both parties should take the form to your local county or family court to be signed and witnesses. You should take with you the child's birth certificate and proof of your ID, eg your passport or driving licence.
      3 - Send two copies of the signed and witnessed form to: Principal Registry of the Family Division, First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holburn, London, WC1V 6NP.

    If the mother disagrees: apply to court

      1 - You must have attempted mediation first.
      2 - To apply, you must be a person connected to the child (eg parent, step-parent etc).
      3 - The court fee is £125 (you can get help with court fees if on benefits or low income).
      4 - Fill in court forms C1 and FM1 and send to your local county or family court.
      5 - If you don't want the other party to see your home address, leave that blank on form C1 and also fill in and send form C8.

    If you need help filling in court forms, speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau or consult a local solicitor.

    How do the courts decide whether to award parental responsibility?

    The courts will always prioritise the best interests of the child.

    It is relatively common for the courts to grant parental responsibility. However they have in past declined to do so where:
      The father had injured / abused the child previously
      The father had a conviction for possession of child pornography
      The father was of bad character and had recently served a lengthy prison sentence for robbery.

    If you are making an application to court, and are unsure about the process or your chances of success, seek help. Parental responsibility is worth fighting for, so don't let the court forms put you off. High street family law solicitors often give up to one hour's free advice. Alternatively Citizens Advice Bureau offer free and independent legal advice on a walk-in basis.

    Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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    [Add a Comment]
    @sue.well I have been in a lot of trouble in my life .i was very upset with myself my ex cheated repeatedly with my own family for years and the only way for me was to (FIGHT ALL OF THEM )to restore my honour and get back my manhood .none would fight so some are dead so if he is anything like me .its best to stay clear and move on with your own life’s .for me to redeem my hounor I had to drop my own daughter and vowed never to belittled bye a whore again .
    Son on Zeus - 7-Dec-18 @ 9:27 PM
    My son is distraught his ex partner has moved with his 3 young children not telling him won't answer phone or let him speak to them. He has always had his children and spends every penny on them and takes them everywhere .is she allowed to do this . My son has always worked never been in trouble and loves his children more than life itself I'm worried about his welfare he is so upset
    Sue - 7-Dec-18 @ 7:06 PM
    As a separated parent with parental responsibility do i have the right to know where my 6 month old daughter is at all times? And can the mother take her out of the country without my permission?
    Trampas - 27-Nov-18 @ 11:07 AM
    First off I want to say father's have no rights at all even being on the birth certificate is a waste of time. Now my question is why can my ex run off to Spain, for over a year come back and demand money? Even though I spent 2 thousand euro's to get access in Spain. Now she's gone to child matience and demanding money. But the system is flawed as she's stop me seeing them in the week and cut it down to 1 night a week so I have to pay top line csa. This is why it's flawed because she knows how it works. So basically I've gone through hell with this woman, just because I want a relationship with my children, I have to go court and spend thousands of pounds, plus pay her money, which she will pay towards court fees. It's a joke, and the whole system needs revamped.
    Joh82 - 20-Oct-18 @ 10:39 PM
    Trev - Your Question:
    If my son was born and my ex was with another man and I hadn't seen my son in ten years and had no parental rights and changed my sons surname to her new partners name without my know and excluded me from all visitation and another man has brought up my child and I have not seen him in over ten years do I have to pay child support?

    Our Response:
    Yes, as you are still the biological father of your child. Only if the other man adopts your child officially will you be financially released from the obligation. All biological non-resident parents are expected to financially help to support their children regardless of whether they see their children or not.
    SeparatedDads - 4-Sep-18 @ 10:43 AM
    If my son was born and my ex was with another man and I hadn't seen my son in ten years and had no parental rights and changed my sons surname to her new partners name without my know and excluded me from all visitation and another man has brought up my child and I have not seen him in over ten years do I have to pay child support?
    Trev - 30-Aug-18 @ 4:55 PM
    Holland park - Your Question:
    I would love to see my son ,and in law but I feel like I cant as my ex doesnt communicate with me and csa keeps badgering me for money when seeked out their help without my knowledge and the fact that im in financial crisis have medical problems and hardly have a full house.they have also taken money from my wages and put ccjs out on me thinking im earning lots without actually considering my outgoing ,that rbl have helped me and ive lived in hostels ont top of wich have been in hospital due to seizures and have lost jobs and been on benefit because of my epilepsy.i have seen that the kids have more than enough she has more than I do and csa are demanding too much for a 4 yr old boy to live on from me on top of all this previous benifit overpayments havefallen on my back when her name was in the agreements too and her little tricks to get csaand hmrc involved has put me in bad credit and totally messed up my life as a person and as a father with good intensions BUT NOBODY WANTS TO SEE MY SIDE OF THE STORY AND MY SITUATION AS IT ISNT FINANCIALY CREDITING FOR THEM.LAST BUT NO WAY LEAST IF THIS CARRIES ON I WILL LOOSE MY HOUSE MY VERY LITTLE POSETIONS THAT INCLUDES NOT EVEN HAVING A BATHROOM OR TOILET OR KITCHEN OR FURNITURE TO SAY THE LEAST. I WILL BE COME HOMELESS AND END UP FITTING MORE AND BEING IN HOPSITAL MORE REGULARLY AND THEN NOT BEING WORTH ANYTHING OR HAVING ANYTHING AT ALL INCLUDING A LIFE SOOO I AM ASKING FOR MAJOR HELP SO BADLY. MY ONLY OTHER CHOICE WAS TO APPLY TO NOT BE A FATHER FIGURE WITH NO PARENTAL RESPONSABILITIES ANY MORE AND LOSE MY KIDS FOR EVER

    Our Response:
    I am sorry to hear this, but every non-resident parent is responsible for paying towards the day-to-day care of their children. On a basic level a parent will pay 12% of their gross weekly income for one child, 16% for two and 19% for three or more. CMS do not take into account outgoings and if you fall back on your payments, then you will be subjected to arrears. This is applied to all non-resident parents across the board.
    SeparatedDads - 29-Jun-18 @ 2:19 PM
    i would love to see my son ,and in law but i feel like i cant as my ex doesnt communicate with me and csa keeps badgering me for money when seeked out their help without my knowledge and the fact that im in financial crisis have medical problems and hardly have a full house . they have also taken money from my wages and put ccjs out on me thinking im earning lots without actually considering my outgoing ,that rbl have helped me and ive lived in hostels ont top of wich have been in hospital due to seizures and have lost jobs and been on benefit because of my epilepsy. i have seen that the kids have more than enough she has more than i do and csa are demanding too much for a 4 yr old boy to live on from me on top of all this previous benifit overpayments havefallen on my back when her name was in the agreements too and her little tricks to get csaand hmrc involved has put me in bad credit and totally messed up my life as a person and as a father with good intensions BUT NOBODY WANTS TO SEE MY SIDE OF THE STORY AND MY SITUATION AS IT ISNT FINANCIALY CREDITING FOR THEM . LAST BUT NO WAY LEAST IF THIS CARRIES ON I WILL LOOSE MY HOUSE MY VERY LITTLE POSETIONS THAT INCLUDES NOT EVEN HAVING A BATHROOM OR TOILET OR KITCHEN OR FURNITURE TO SAY THE LEAST . I WILL BE COME HOMELESS AND END UP FITTING MORE AND BEING IN HOPSITAL MORE REGULARLY AND THEN NOT BEING WORTH ANYTHING OR HAVING ANYTHING AT ALL INCLUDING A LIFE SOOO I AM ASKING FOR MAJOR HELP SO BADLY . MY ONLY OTHER CHOICE WAS TO APPLY TO NOT BE A FATHER FIGURE WITH NO PARENTAL RESPONSABILITIES ANY MORE AND LOSE MY KIDS FOR EVER
    Holland park - 28-Jun-18 @ 9:53 PM
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