Child Custody & Child Arrangements Order Lawyers London

Understanding and obtaining Parental Responsibility 

Parental Responsibility

Under Children Act 1989, Parental Responsibility (“PR”) is defined as all legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authorities a parent has in respect of their child. If you have PR for a child, you can make important decisions necessary in a child’s life relating to education, health and medical treatment, and religion etc.

Who has PR?

A biological mother automatically has PR of the child. A father will also automatically have PR for the child, if he were married to the mother when the child is born. Unmarried fathers will have PR for the child, if they are named on the birth certificate from 1st December 2003 and jointly registered the child’s birth with the mother.

How can I obtain PR if I do not have PR for a child automatically?

Father's Rights

If a father does not automatically have PR, he can enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement, or apply for a Parental Responsibility Order.

Step-parent's Rights

A step-parent can obtain PR, if they are married to the mother, or they are the civil partner of a parent who has PR in respect of the child, by entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement or applying to the Court for a Parental Responsibility Order.

What about civil partners or mothers and married lesbian couples?

If the child was conceived by artificial insemination on or after 6 April 2009 and you were in a civil partnership your civil partner will automatically have PR for the child.

If you were married to your same-sex spouse (married lesbian couple) and the child was conceived by artificial insemination, your spouse will automatically have parental responsibility for the child.

Both names should be added to the birth certificate and your child will have no legal father.

“I have been extremely happy with instructing Kiran. She has been professional, knowledgeable and sincere since day 1. She has been helping me get through one of the most difficult times in my life. I have no hesitation in recommending Kiran at all. She truly is an asset to the firm.”

Mrs A - Client - 2019 to present

Are there any other circumstances that I can obtain PR for a child?

Yes, you could apply for one of the following…

Child Arrangements Order

Also known as a “Lives with order” for a child, (this could include a non-biological parent).

Adoption Order

To make an adoption legal, you need to apply for an adoption court order. This gives you parental rights and responsibilities for the child.

Special Guardianship Order

Appointing a carer to be a ‘special guardian’ until a child turns 18. This is usually applied for when a child has been placed in the care of a family member or close friend because the parents are unable to care for a child. The ‘special guardian’ shares PR with the parents and can make major day to day decisions without consulting the parents.

Children

Under Children Act 1989, Parental Responsibility (“PR”) is defined as all legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authorities a parent has in respect of their child. If you have PR for a child, you can make important decisions necessary in a child’s life relating to education, health and medical treatment, and religion etc.

During the breakdown of a relationship it is often difficult for parents/guardians to reach agreements about where the children will live, how much time they are going to spend with the non-resident parent, which school they should attend and even religious practice.

We have a dedicated team at Comptons Solicitors’ Family Law Portal that will assist you in negotiations to reach an agreeable solution, by leading you through your matter, taking into account the emotional sensitivity and life-altering nature of the situation.

Looking to better understand the process? DOWNLOAD our free flowchart

What Order can I apply for to spend time with my child, or have a child live with me?

If separated parents are not able to reach an agreement about who the child/ren should live with or how much time they should spend with the non-resident parent, an application for Child Arrangements Order (‘live with order’ or ‘spends time with order’ can be made under the Children Act 1989 (previously known as a ‘Residence’ Order or ‘Contact’ Order).

What Order can I apply for if we are unable to reach an agreement about schooling, medical care or any otter issue?

If parents are unable to reach an agreement on issues in respect of their child/ren, an application for a Specific Issue Order can be made. This order is sought from the family court to determine a specific question which has, or may arise, in connection with any aspect of Parental Responsibility for a child.

What Order can I apply for if I wanted to prevent a party from doing something?

You could apply for a Prohibited Steps Order if you have concerns about your child possibly being taken out of the country, not allowing your child to spend time with a specific person, or to not allow a specific person to attend the child’s school.

Grandparents Rights

Despite not having any legal rights to see their grandchildren in England and Wales, there are a number of options grandparents can consider if dealing with special circumstances. 

In England and Wales, Grandparents do not have legal rights to see their grandchildren, nor do they have Parental Responsibility. Despite this, there are a number of options grandparents can consider. A grandparent is able to apply for a Parental Responsibility Order, or a Special Guardianship Order (in certain circumstances).

Parents have the legal right to choose who their children spend time with which includes grandparents and extended family. A grandparent can apply to the Court for permission to apply for an Order to spend time with their grandchildren.

grandparents rights

Keen to discuss your options?

To understand your rights, or to book an appointment with one of our family law solicitors, please call us on T: +44 (0)203 869 4466 or contact us via email.