4.4 Parental Responsibility
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter was reviewed and revised for the May 2011 edition of the manual.
The Children Act 1989 defines Parental Responsibility as all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law, a parent of a child has, in relation to the child and her/his property. The Act provides consistent rules about the acquisition and exercise of Parental Responsibility, and the effect of it on Care Orders.
2. Who has Parental Responsibility?
Where a child's father and mother were married to each other at the time of her/his birth, they shall each have Parental Responsibility for the child.
When a child's father and mother were not married to each other at the time of her/his birth:
- The mother has Parental Responsibility for the child;
- The father has Parental Responsibility if his name is on the birth certificate, if he and the child's mother enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement; or if the Court, on his application, orders that he shall have Parental Responsibility for the child.
The fact that one person acquires Parental Responsibility does not in itself remove another's Parental Responsibility. For instance after separation or divorce, both parents retain their Parental Responsibility.
The usual recourse where one parent is unhappy about the actions or proposed actions of another is that they can apply for a Section 8 Order under the Children Act 1989 such as a Prohibited Steps Order or a Specific Issues Order.