Parental Responsibility


This concept confers rights, duties and responsibilities upon parents who have it.

Without this, you are unable to make any important decisions for your own child.

The circumstances in which a parent obtains Parental Responsibility are set out below.

Parental Responsibility automatically vests in the mother upon the birth of the child.

The father can obtain Parental Responsibility in the following ways:

  • Being married to the mother at the time of the birth;
  • Noting his name on the birth certificate

If neither of these apply then the father will not have Parental Responsibility and he could be prevented from being involved in the decision making process.

It is imperative that both parents have Parental Responsibility so if you do not have it, you should consider whether an agreement with the mother will be appropriate. There is formal paperwork to reflect the agreement and this must be signed at Court and lodged with the Principle Registry of the Family Division.

If you are unable to reach an agreement with the mother then you may need to apply to the Court for a Specific Issue Order.  The Court will determine whether a Parental Responsibility Order is in the best interests of the child.

Same sex parents

Both parents will obtain Parental Responsibility if they were civil partners at the time of the treatment to conceive.

If you are not civil partners, then you will need to jointly register the birth, reach a formal agreement, become civil partners or apply to the Court as above, to obtain Parental Responsibility.

For anything further, one of our specialists would be delighted to meet you to talk through your options and answer any questions. Please contact us at any time.