Parental responsibility is different from legal parenthood. It gives an adult legal rights and responsibilities to make welfare decisions for a child including: medical, educational, religious decisions, relocation and removal from the UK.

You can obtain parental responsibility for a child without being a legal parent. You can be a legal parenthood without parental responsibility. Parental responsibility can be obtained in a variety of ways including marriage, agreement, birth registration and court order.

Parental responsibility for a child usually lasts until he or she is aged 16. Parental responsibility can be shared by more than one person.  When parental responsibility is shared, the law expects individuals to consult each other and agree decisions for the child's benefit.

Parental responsibility can be conferred, terminated or restricted by the English Family Court if this is in the child's best interests.

How we can help you

We provide experienced supportive expert legal advice on:

  • acquisition and operation of parental responsibility in the UK
  • obtaining a child arrangements order
  • obtaining a special guardianship order
  • managing decisions and arrangements for children following relationship breakdown
  • financial decisions and provision for a child
  • an application for a parental order following surrogacy
  • an application for an adoption order
  • content and preparation of a co-parenting agreement
  • content and preparation of a known donor agreement
  • preparation of "specialist family proof" wills

To find out more about our legal services click here.

Find out more about children and family law in the UK in our resource hub.

Gain an understanding of wider issues in the development of and current issues surrounding children and family law in the UK and internationally. Click here to visit our Media and Publications section. 

Arrange a meeting with Louisa Ghevaert, Partner and Head of the Fertility and Parenting Team at Michelmores: email or telephone +44(0)207 7886382.

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