Parental Responsibility
parental responsibility

What Are Parents’ Responsibilities By Law?

The definition of parental responsibility is meaning the legal rights, duties, powers, and responsibilities. The authority a parent has for a child and the child’s property.

A person has parental responsibility for a child that has the right to make decisions about their care and upbringing. Important decisions in a child’s life must be agreed with anyone else who has parental responsibility.

Legal Parental Responsibility

The following are examples of important decisions in a child’s life and agreement of everyone with legal parental responsibility:

  • Where a child lives.
  • A child has medical treatment.
  • How and where a child is educated.
  • Which, if any, religion a child follows.
  • Deciding a child’s name and registering their birth.
  • Giving consent for a child to leave the country for a holiday or permanently.

  • Supporting children financially.
  • Parental responsibility is not affecting the duty of a parent and it has to maintain their child financially.
  • All parents have a duty to pay towards their child’s upbringing and they have parental responsibility.
  • Day-to-day parenting
  • Day-to-day decisions are looking after their child at that time. They are not having to be agreed with each person with parental responsibility.
  • Parents should not discuss what they are thinking appropriate on a day-to-day level. It is helpful to tackle issues such as discipline, bedtimes, and homework.
  • But if you don’t agree on these things then neither parent can be forced the issue with the other.
  • A parent can be decided who a child sees when they are with them. If you or your child’s other parent is wanting to introduce a new partner to your child, ideally both parents should discuss how it might affect your child and how they feel.
  • You cannot prevent your child’s other parent from introducing a new partner to your child unless the new partner would pose a risk to your child.

supporting children

Who Automatically Has Parental Responsibility?

The following people automatically have parents’ responsibilities by law:

  • All birth mothers
  • Fathers married to the mother at the time the child was born
  • Fathers who are not married to the mother, but are registered on the child’s birth certificate. The registration or re-registration must have taken place on or after 1 December 2003

Civil partners and partners of mothers registered as the child’s legal parent on the birth certificate.

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