Parental Responsibility

Many unmarried fathers do not have parental responsibility with regard to their own child. Parental responsibility allows a parent to have a say in a child’s upbringing, health issues, schooling, religion etc. and, more importantly, to be able to consent to urgent medical treatment if required. 

At Maria Fogg Family Law, we can provide you with full expert legal advice regarding how to obtain a parental responsibility agreement for your child(ren).

What is Parental Responsibility?

Parental Responsibility laws refer to a a parent’s duties as a carer for a child. However, it doesn’t refer to who has the rights over the child(ren). 

Definition Under Law

In the 3(1) Children Act 1989, it is defined as “‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.’

What Does Parental Responsibility Actually Mean?

Responsible parents are allowed to have an input withinto decisions that affect a their child. These decisions are ones that could be large, significant and life changing, and it does not refer to those day-to-day decisions made with regards to their child. These should be made by the resident parent or person the child lives with. 

Responsible parents have the power to make decisions on a number of factors. These can include:

  • The education of the child
  • The child’s legal name
  • The guardian of the child
  • Medical operations or medical treatments
  • Accessing medical records
  • Consenting to holidays or the child’s travel out of the country
  • Representing the child in legal proceedings
  • The religion of their child. (This does have some caveats, so please get in contact with us for more information)
Parental Responsibility Law

Who Has Responsibility? 

Here is a list of those who have responsibility of their child(ren):

The Mother

Mothers naturally have parental responsibility.

Married Fathers

If the father is married or in a civil partnership with the mother, they are automatically given parental responsibility. They will not lose this in the event of a divorce or a civil partnership dissolving. 

Second Female Parents

A second female parent who is married to or in a civil partnership with the mother during the time of the child’s conception does have responsibility. However, there are some variations, so contact us for more information.

Who Doesn’t Have Responsibility?

Un-Married Fathers

If a father is not married to or in a civil partnership with the mother, then they will not automatically have parental responsibility.

Step Fathers/Mothers

Step Fathers/Mothers will not have automatic responsibility. 


Grandparents do not have automatic responsibility.

If you wish to know how to obtain parental responsibility please contact us.

Please contact us for further information and advice.

Get in Touch

At Maria Fogg Family Law we are not like other law firms. We have taken the time to consider our client’s needs. We uniquely offer convenient appointments to fit in with your work commitments.

T. 0151 489 9431
M. 078 8926 0917