Children Law Solicitors in South East London Lewisham

For children law legal advice call AS Solicitors on 020 8318 4345     

Parental Responsibility – Your Legal Rights

Parental Responsibility is defined in law as: ‘All the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to that child’.

Parental Responsibility grants a person the right to make decisions affecting a child’s upbringing, including decisions on education, medical treatment, religious upbringing, and whether or not a child can travel internationally.

Who Has Parental Responsibility?

A mother who gives birth to a child, automatically has Parental Responsibility.

A father will automatically have Parental Responsibility if he was married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth.

A father who is not married to the mother will only have Parental Responsibility if the child was born after December 2003 and he is named on the birth certificate.

A father will not automatically have Parental Responsibility and must obtain it by one of the methods described below:

  • Entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the child’s mother in the appropriate form, which must then be registered.
  • Obtaining a Parental Responsibility Order from the Court.

It is possible for people other than a child’s parent to obtain Parental Responsibility. For example, a grandparent or uncle or aunt who provides day-to-day care.

People who have obtained Parental Responsibility have an obligation to keep the child’s best interests at the forefront of every decision making process.

Removing Parental Responsibility

The Court can remove Parental Responsibility if it has been acquired through a Parental Responsibility Agreement or Parental Responsibility Order. However, it’s rare for a Court to do this, and the circumstances where this might be appropriate are exceptional.

Children Law – Child Removal & Relocation

When there is no Residence Order, taking a child / children out of the UK for a holiday requires the consent of every person with Parental Responsibility.

If that consent cannot be obtained, then the Court’s permission must be sought. Taking a child out of the UK without consent may constitute a Child Abduction resulting with possible civil and criminal consequences.

It’s always advisable to clarify the situation with a Family Law Specialist well in advance if you intend to take your child out of the UK. This is all the more important where there is any real doubt about whether all holders of Parental Responsibility will consent to the removal. If it’s not possible for parents to agree whether a child/children should be removed from the UK for a holiday, the Court must decide.

When a Residence Order has been made in relation to a child, the person in whose favour the Order is made can take the child away on holiday for limited periods. He or she can do so without the consent of the other holders of Parental Responsibility. The child/children may only be away for a month or less under this exception.

For an initial consultation call us on 020 8318 4345.


Children Solicitors, Children Lawyers, in South East London, Lee Green, Hither Green, Grove Park, Greenwich, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham.