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Parental Responsibility

Banner Jones advise parents on their Parental Rights and Responsibilities.

Parental Responsibility is the law’s way of trying to define the responsibility and the rights that parents have to their child. Both married mums and dads have Parental Responsibility.

Effectively, parental responsibility provides the holder the right to be involved in the day to day management of the child’s life. Practically, the holders of parental responsibility are entitled to be given information regarding children’s education and welfare.

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Parental Responsibility Agreements

Each parent can generally exercise their parental responsibility independently of the other and, in a day to day situation, there is normally no requirement for parents to consult with the other prior to exercising their parental responsibility.

On certain important decisions it is essential that everyone with Parental Responsibility is consulted. A common example of this would be where one parent takes a child abroad, maybe even just for a holiday. If there is no Child Arrangements Order with a residence element in place, this cannot be done without the consent of the other parent/guardian. If this does happen, we can help make the relevant emergency application through the Court for the return of the child or children.

Unmarried Parents Parental Responsibility Rights

The position for unmarried parents is different. Unmarried mothers have parental responsibility for their child. An unmarried father whose name is on the birth certificate and the child was born after 1st December 2003 also has it.  An unmarried father for a child born before 1st December 2003 can acquire parental responsibility by either:

  • Entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother
  • Obtaining a Parental Responsibility order of the Court
  • Marrying the mother of his child
  • By ensuring his name is on the birth certificate, either originally or by re-registration of the child’s birth to include the father’s name

Contact one of our specialist family solicitors

Our expert solicitors in Sheffield, Chesterfield and Mansfield are highly experienced and will treat each case uniquely depending on your circumstances. Our family law team achieve solutions through confidential settlements and are always on hand to provide support as we know going through a divorce process can be stressful.

We have offices in Chesterfield, Sheffield, Dronfield, Mansfield and Nottingham.

For more information on Parental Responsibility, or to arrange an appointment with our expert Family Law department, call 0330 017 6308* or email

*calls cost no more than a local 01 number and are included in your mobile minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

He's got to keep a roof over our heads hasn't he?

Non-residential parents have to pay maintenance for their children; hopefully the amount can be agreed though negotiation and if not then the CSA will decide. Each case is different. If for example the Mum and the children stay in the family home then she may relinquish her claims over any other assets such as pension and savings in return.

How soon can I file for a no fault divorce?

You can get divorced in England or Wales if all of the following are true:

  • you’ve been married for over a year
  • your relationship has permanently broken down
  • your marriage is legally recognised in the UK (including same-sex marriage)
What am I entitled to in a no fault divorce?

The aim when sharing out matrimonial assets is to be fair. Both spouses have to make full disclosure about their assets and debts before any decisions can be made about distribution, trying to hide anything won't work. Factors which are important when sharing out the assets include the current and future needs of each spouse and any dependent children; the length of marriage and the age, earning capacity and contributions of each party.

Will I lose touch with my children?

Your aim should be that both parents still play an active part in the raising of the child/children.  Usually parents sort this out amongst themselves, although if there are problems mediation can be a good way to resolve this.  Going to Court should always be the last resort where children are involved.

Will we have to go to Court during our divorce?

No, getting a divorce should be an administrative excersise only and there are many options open to you that avoid going to Court.

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