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Parental Responsibility

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.

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).
  • 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.

For advice and support, please contact your Family Law Team on 0113 320 5000 or by email on




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