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Parental Responsibility is what gives a parent or step-parent legal rights in respect of a child and also places upon them duties and responsibilities in relation to the welfare of that child.  It enables a parent to make important decisions about a child’s upbringing, such as their education.

For help with parental responsibility agreements call 0113 320 5000

The following persons automatically have Parental Responsibility of a child:

  • The mother of the child.
  • A father who is married to the child’s mother at the time the child is born.
  • A father who is registered on the child’s birth certificate (only applies to children born after 1 December 2003).
  • Second female parents who were married or in a civil partnership with the birth mother when the child was conceived.
  • A person who adopts a child.

A person can acquire Parental Responsibility by consent of those other persons with Parental Responsibility or by Order of the Court.

Our services include:

  • Preparing Parental Responsibility agreements for parents/step-parents.
  • Negotiating with the parent who has care to execute a Parental Responsibility agreement.
  • Assisting a parent in applying to the Court for a Parental Responsibility agreement.
  • Applying for a Prohibited Steps order where one party seeks to exercise parental rights contrary to the wishes of the other. This could apply where a mother decides to leave the Country permanently without the consent of the father and he wishes to make an application to the Court for an order prohibiting this.
  • Applying for a Specific Issue order. This may be appropriate for instance where no agreement can be reached on decisions such as which school a child should attend or which religion a child should follow.
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For advice and support, please contact your Family Law Team on 0113 320 5000 or by email on

This is the legal definition of the responsibilities that parents have over children for example to make decisions about a child's religion or health needs.

This is an order in children proceedings that prevents a person from doing something e.g. removing the child from school or taking them abroad.

What is a Specific Issue Order?

An Order dealing with a specific issue such as where a child shall attend school or what medical treatment they should have.