How to apply for Parental Responsibility

What is a parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility is a term used for the legal rights, duties, powers and responsibilities that a parent receives when they have a child.

By having parental responsibility it is essential that you provide a home and maintenance for the child. You are also able to exercise power to make decisions for that child providing it is in their best interests.

Important decisions about the child’s life can be agreed and made by parents with parental responsibility, these decisions include:

  • To provide a safe and suitable home for the child and deciding where the child will live.
  • To provide appropriate education and decision where the child is educated
  • Deciding on what to name the child and registering their birth
  • Deciding and providing consent on the child leaving the country whether for a visit for permanently.
  • Decisions about the Religious beliefs the child should be brought up with
  • Consenting to a child’s operation or certain medical treatment.
  • Representing the child in legal proceedings

Parental Responsibility provides the power to make important decisions in relation to a child until they reach the age where they are able to consent for themselves at 16.

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Do I have parental responsibility?

If you’re a mother of a child you will automatically receive parental responsibility when the child is born.

The rules on parental responsibility are different for fathers. If a father is named on the child’s birth certificate or is married to the mother of the child, then they will also have an automatic parental responsibility.

For parents of a child that were born into a civil partnership through artificial insemination civil partners will automatically be granted parental responsibility if both names are added to the child’s birth certificate.  

If you do not have parental responsibility you may be wondering how to apply for parental responsibility. You can contact one of our specialists in child law who can provide you with the information you need and assist you in gaining parental responsibility for a child.

Parental responsibility agreement

A common question concerning a child is how to apply for parental responsibility. One of the ways of gaining parental responsibility is through a parental responsibility agreement. Any person including fathers that are not married to the child’s mother or are not named on the birth certificate of the child can secure a parental responsibility agreement to share parental responsibility.

A parental responsibility agreement may be the best option without going to court if both parents are on amicable speaking terms. When both parties agree on a parental responsibility agreement it saves time and money and stress and ensures maintaining a good relationship between all parties involved thus having a positive impact on the child and there upbringing.

If parents can reach a parental responsibility agreement between them then a parental responsibility form needs to be completed. This form is called Form C(PRA1).  

The parental responsibility form records that an agreement has taken place between both parents. Both parents must sign the parental responsibility form at the court and it must be witnessed by a court form. A separate parental responsibility form will have to be submitted for each child and proof of your child’s ID will be required, i.e. Birth Certificate.

How to apply for a parental responsibility order

Unfortunately, not all parents are amicable following a divorce or separation and some parties may become hostile towards one another. In such instances you may be wondering how to apply for parental responsibility. If parties cannot come to an agreement on a parental responsibility agreement regarding the child an alternative option in gaining parental responsibility would be to apply to the court for a parental responsibility order.

At Kabir Family Law our child law specialist you can guide you through the court process of gaining parental responsibility.

In order to apply for a parental responsibility order a form C1 needs to be completed.  

As with many child law issues the court’s priority will be the child’s welfare in deciding on whether to grant a parental responsibility order. You should bear in mind that the Court has the power to make no order where the Court feels there would be no good reason to make an order.

When considering an application for a parental responsibility order the courts will consider the following:

  • Commitment: The court will consider whether the parent making the application has shown sufficient commitment to the child to justify granting them parental responsibility.
  • Reason: What is the reason you want parental responsibility
  • Attachment: the court will consider the level of attachment between you and the child.

How to apply for parental responsibility for a stepfather

Many mothers often marry or enter into a relationship with someone who is not the biological father of their child. Stepfathers often develop a song bond with their step-child. However, stepfathers have no legal rights over step children and cannot be involved in the decision making process for a child.

In order to make such important decisions stepfathers will need to apply for parental responsibility. Many times, we are asked how to apply for parental responsibility for a stepfather.

A stepfather will not be granted parental responsibility for a child by simply marrying the biological mother of the child. Previously getting parental responsibility for a stepchild was only possibly by way of adoption.

However, following a change in the law there are many ways of getting parental responsibility for a stepchild and include circumstances where:

  • The Court makes a Child Arrangements Order and orders the child lives with the stepparent either on their own or with another person.
  • When the stepparent adopts a child this puts them in the same position as the birth parent
  • Through the signing of a stepparent Parental Responsibility Agreement, to which all other people with parental responsibility consent
  • When the Court has made a Parental Responsibility Order following an application by the stepparent.

When a stepparent obtains parental responsibility for a step child a step parent has the same rights, duties and responsibilities as a biological parent.

How to apply for a parental responsibility order for same sex couples?

The process for same sex couples who are in a civil partnership or marriage is the same as for stepfathers when gaining parental responsibility and again the court will consider all the information provided on the best interests and wellbeing of the child.

Can a parental responsibility order be removed?

Parental responsibility cannot be taken away from a parent who has it automatically except in the case of adoption.

Parental responsibility obtained via court arrangement order or special guardianship only lasts until the order remains in force. Therefore, once the court order expires the parental responsibility is lost.

It is rare for the court to remove a parental responsibility order which they have acquired through the court. However, it may be appropriate in some extreme circumstances.

Although parental responsibility via a parental responsibility order cannot be removed or transferred (unless in extreme circumstances), parental responsibility can be delegated in the following circumstances:

  • Child being educated abroad
  • Child educated in England and parent lives abroad
  • Child educated in England and parental responsibility is given to a grandparent or trusted family member.


I am the mother of a child can my parental responsibility be removed?

No. As you have automatically acquired parental responsibility this can not be removed from you.

I have separated from my child’s father and have been married. Can my partner apply for parental responsibility?

Yes your partner can apply for parental responsibility through adoption, making an application for child arrangements, making an application for a parental responsibility order or by obtaining a parental responsibility agreement providing all people with parental responsibility consent.

There is no doubt that gaining parental responsibility can complicated however getting expert legal advice from a child specialist can really help you to be clear on where you stand and feel more in control of the situation.

Contact our Parental responsibility specialists today to arrange a free initial consultation today

If you are looking for advice or assistance on gaining for parental responsibility call us on 0330 094 5880 or let us call you. We also have offices in York, Newcastle. Oxford, London, Manchester and Northampton so you can arrange to come and visit us if this is more convenient.