As an Unmarried Father, Do I Have Any Parental Responsibility Rights?

Barker Son & Isherwood LLP


Phone 01264 353411


Having a child with someone is a big decision to make. The law around who has parental responsibility or not can seem quite confusing. But there are one or two key points to know about parental responsibility.

The first is that the mother of your child will immediately have parental responsibility. This is a given at the birth of your child. For you to get parental responsibility, you either have to be married to your partner (the child’s mother) or you must be listed on the birth certificate. This happens when the birth of your child is registered.

But what does parental responsibility mean and what can you do to get it if you don’t have it already?

Parental responsibility simply means that you take on the responsibility to give your child a home to live in and that you will provide clothing, food, emotional support and love and protect them.

This does not mean though that you have a right to contact a child because you have parental responsibility. You can apply to the court to ask for contact as a separate issue, but whether you have contact or not, the other parent should keep you informed about how the child is.

When you have parental responsibility, you also have to take responsibility for undertaking:

  • The discipline of your child
  • Helping decide on the school your child goes to and providing for their education
  • Deciding on and agreeing on any necessary medical treatment
  • Deciding on their name and agreeing if a name change is necessary
  • Taking care of any property that belongs to your child

In addition, whether you have parental responsibility or not, you have to make sure that your child is supported financially.

So now you know who has parental responsibility and what it is, but how can you get it if you don’t already have it?

As long as the mother agrees to you having parental responsibility, you can complete a parental responsibility agreement. The form you will need to complete is a C(PRA1). If you are a step-parent, who wants parental responsibility, you should complete form C(PRA2). Once completed, the form should be taken to your local county or family court. Then it can be signed and witnessed. You’ll need to take along proof of your identity and the child’s birth certificate.

If you can’t get the mother to agree that you should have parental responsibility, you can apply for a court order. There is a cost of £215 and you should get legal advice first.

If you need help with parental responsibility, contact our experienced family law team who will help you. Call 01264 353411, email"> or contact us online via our no obligation enquiry form.

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