Parental Responsibility is a term which describes all the rights and responsibilities that parents have in relation to their children.
This includes for example, being responsible for consenting to medical treatment for a child, making decisions such as changing the child’s surname, choosing where a child goes to school etc.
The majority of Parents automatically have parental responsibility for their children. There are however certain circumstances, or indeed individuals who may not have Parental Responsibility and would wish to acquire it.
There are two ways in which you can acquire Parental Responsibility. If the mother agrees and consents to it, it is possible for a Parental Responsibility Agreement to be drawn up for the parties to sign. It can then be sent to Court. There is also certain documentation that will need to be provided with it such as the child’s birth certificate and proof of identity documents.
The other alternative if the mother does not agree, is to apply to the Court for an Order to acquire Parental Responsibility. The Court will hear the evidence and the decide whether or not it is appropriate in the case for the party to acquire Parental Responsibility. That order is then legally binding. If an application to the Court is necessary, it is strongly advisable to seek independent legal advice so a Legal Advisor can advise you on the merit of the application before it is made.