When does parental responsibility end in the UK?

When does parental responsibility end in the UK?

Parental responsibility is incredibly important as it allows the parent to make important decisions for your child.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about parental responsibility.

What is parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility refers to the legal rights, responsibilities, and authority that someone has over a child.

Someone with parental responsibility will have the right to make key decisions in a child’s life.

Some of the responsibilities include:

  • Providing a home/choosing where they live
  • Choosing a name for the child
  • Taking care of the child’s property
  • Making important decisions regarding things like religion, education, health etc.
  • Protecting the child’s welfare

Who has parental responsibility?

Birth mothers automatically gain parental responsibility for their child, but there are also some other people that can also share this responsibility, including:

  • Fathers who are married to, or in a civil partnership with the mother
  • Fathers who are not married to the mother but are on the birth certificate
  • Civil partners and same-sex partners of the birth mother who are on the birth certificate
  • Court order
  • Parental Responsibility Agreement
When does parental responsibility end?

In the UK, parental responsibility will usually end once the child turns 18, but it could also happen earlier, if:

  • The child gets married between the ages of 16 and 18
  • There’s an adoption order that overrides the birth parents’ responsibilities
I have parental responsibility, what are my rights?

When you gain parental responsibility for a child, you have the right to take part indecisions and changes on behalf of your child. Everyone with parental responsibility will need to be in communication with a view to agreeing on the key decisions in a child’s life. No key decision should be made without at least discussing it first.

This includes the right to decide:

  • where your child goes to school
  • what religion your child is brought up with
  • what medical treatments they receive
  • your child’s name
  • Make everyday decisions like when they’re allowed to eat, what time they go to bed etc.
How to get parental responsibility removed?

In most cases, it’s very rare for parental responsibility to be removed.

Unless a child gets adopted, it’s not possible for parental responsibility to be removed from the birth mother, and it’s very rare that this responsibility gets removed from the father.

It’s only in exceptional circumstances that a court would make the decision to remove the parental responsibility of a parent. The only time they will do this is in a situation where, if they didn’t remove the responsibility, the best interests of the child would be at risk.

These circumstances could include:

  • When a parent is abusive
  • When a parent is withholding consent for certain medical treatments
  • When a child gets adopted

If a court does believe that a parent is having a negative impact on their child’s life, they will normally start by restricting the parent’s involvement with the child.

The two main routes to doing this are by issuing a Child Arrangements Order or a Prohibited Steps Order which could limit the role a parent can play in their child’s life.

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