When you’re the mother or father of a child, there are a number of responsibilities that you take on as you become a parent; known as ‘parental responsibility’.
This means that you are responsible for meeting the basic needs of your child, like providing them a home to live in and protecting them from harm.
What things come under parental responsibility?
Alongside some of the important roles that you have to play as a parent, there are also a number of other things that you’re responsible for, like:
– Disciplining your child, when appropriate
– Choosing and providing for your child’s education
– Agreeing to your child’s medical treatment
– Naming your child and agreeing to any change of name
– Looking after your child’s property
Who has parental responsibility for a child?
A mother will automatically have parental responsibility for a child from birth, but a father will only have parental responsibility if they’re married to the mother or are named on the child’s birth certificate as the father.
In the case of same-sex partners, both individuals will have parental responsibility for a child if they were civil partners at the time of treatments like fertility treatments or donor insemination.
If you don’t automatically have parental responsibility for a child, you may be able to apply but it will depend on your association to the child.
Why do you need to show proof of parental responsibility?
Proof of parental responsibility means having some kind of document that proves that you have a relationship with a child where you provide them with their basic needs, as listed above.
This could be shown in the form of having your name on the child’s birth certificate, but it could also be a consent letter that has been signed and dated by the parent of the child.
Depending on who you are trying to prove your parental responsibility to, you may also need to provide documents confirming your address, the child’s address, and confirmation of the child’s date of birth.
How to apply for parental responsibility?
If you haven’t currently got parental responsibility for a child that you’re connected to, it may be possible to apply for this —remember that it is possible for more than 2 people to have parental responsibility for one child.
If you’re a father who wants to gain parental responsibility, you can either sign a parental responsibility agreement with the mother of the child. You will have to take this agreement to family court to be signed and witnessed, you’ll also be asked to bring the child’s birth certificate and proof of your identity.
If you’re not able to agree on arrangements with the mother, you may be able to apply for a court order. This will cost you £232 to make the application and if granted will give you legal responsibility for the child, in the form of a Parental Responsibility Order.
We’re here to help
If you’d like to talk to expert family solicitors about proof of parental responsibility, call National Legal Service on 020 3601 5051 and we can help you with any questions or advice you may need help with.