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Parental Responsibility Solicitors

As a parent, you have certain rights in respect of your relationship with your children, and you also have certain obligations to fulfil. The concept of parental responsibility provides a legal framework for these rights and obligations, and it is defined by the Children Act 1989.

At Goodsells Family Law Solicitors in London, we understand that issues relating to children and Child Law can be emotional and complex. Working with our Family Law solicitor ensures you receive clear, reliable advice on a wide range of child legal matters.

Goodsells Family Law is headed by specialist Family Law solicitor Donna Goodsell.  Donna has many years' experience helping clients resolve such issues. She has in-depth knowledge of the parental responsibility laws and will always make sure the welfare of the children involved remains a priority.

Read more about Donna Goodsell’s Family Law expertise.

If you do not have responsibility for your child, our solicitor can provide advice and assistance with the process. Contact us to find out how we can help.

For an initial consultation with our parental rights solicitor in London, please call 020 7622 2221, email or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back.

Specialist parental responsibility advice for clients across London

We understand how difficult child law issues can be and always strive to achieve an amicable approach to your situation, ensuring stress is kept to a minimum.

Our parental responsibility solicitors can provide proficient law advice and guidance, including:

  • Legal advice
  • Drafting a parental responsibility agreement
  • Applying to court for a parental responsibility order

Whatever your circumstances, Goodsells Family Law Solicitors in Clapham will provide sensitive, pragmatic legal advice in relation to your child law issue.

Legal advice on parental responsibility

If you do not have responsibility for your child, there are options available to remedy that situation to secure parental responsibility. To make sure you understand your rights and have assistance in obtaining it, it’s recommended to speak to a specialist solicitor, who can provide expert support for your circumstances.

Our parental responsibility solicitor, Donna, has an in-depth understanding of all matters concerning family law. She will take the time to carefully understand the position you are in and provide parental rights advice that is completely personalised to you, ensuring that you are aware of your rights and the options available to you.

Drafting a parental responsibility agreement

Obtaining parental responsibility can be a straightforward process, depending on if those already with parental responsibility agree to create an agreement. To secure the best possible outcome, seeking guidance from a parental agreement solicitor is essential.

If you and the other party or parties have come to an arrangement that you are completely satisfied with, our solicitor can assist you in drafting the agreement, making sure all agreed terms are clearly defined. Our solicitor can also assist with negotiating parental agreements through private negotiations and mediation.

Applying to court for a parental responsibility order

If agreement to secure your parental responsibility cannot be reached, it is still possible to obtain it by applying to the court for an order.

In all cases involving children, the court's priority will be to ensure the child's welfare and any order the court makes will seek to preserve their best interests. While Family Law courts understand that a parent’s relationship and contact with their child is usually a significant factor in the child’s wellbeing, the courts are not obliged to make an order for contact. if it is contrary to the child’s best interest.

Our parental rights solicitor acknowledges how difficult child law issues can be and has assisted many parents in applying for parental responsibility in court. We will assist you with court preparation, including drafting a strong statement that demonstrates how parental responsibility is in the best interests of the child and their relationship with you. Should you need representation in court, our solicitor can present the argument and evidence on your behalf.

Excellent value for money

Offering our clients a service that is assessable to all is important to us and we do this by offering a highly competitive and cost-effective rate for all aspects of our parental responsibility service. Where matters are more simple, such as drafting a parental responsibility agreement, we may be able to offer fixed fees.

It’s important to us to be completely straightforward and transparent with our costs. For that reason, we will provide a fee estimate from the start and always keep you up to date with any changes in price.

Contact our parental responsibility solicitor in Clapham

No matter the type of parental responsibility advice and support you need, we are here to assist.

For an initial consultation with our parental responsibility lawyer in London, please call 020 7622 2221, email or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back.

Parental responsibility FAQs

Who has parental responsibility?

It's important to note that only the birth mother of a child has automatic parental responsibility for a child. As the father, or non-biological parent, there are three ways to acquire parental responsibility:

  • You, as the male parent, are married to, or the civil partner of, the child's mother at the time of birth
  • You have legally adopted the child
  • You are named on the child's birth certificate (for children born after a certain date – 1 December 2003 in England and Wales, 4 May 2006 in Scotland, and 15 April 2002 in Northern Ireland.)

Unmarried fathers and step-parents who cannot claim parental responsibility under any of the above terms may seek a parental responsibility agreement with the mother, or apply to the Family Court for a Parental Responsibility Order.

How does parental responsibility work for same-sex partners?

Female partners who are married or in a registered civil partnership at the time of donor insemination or fertility treatment will each have automatic parental responsibility. If the same-sex partners are not married or civil partnered, only the birth mother will have automatic responsibility, and her partner will need to seek parental responsibility, following the same process as detailed above.

The law regarding parental responsibility for male partners who have a child through surrogacy and for parents who have transitioned, or are in the process of gender transitioning is slightly more complex and legal advice from a practitioner who specialises in this area should be sought.

What rights does parental responsibility provide?

Essentially parental responsibility lasts until the child is 18 and it means you have the right to be involved in significant matters relating to the child's welfare and wellbeing, particularly in relation to:

  • Where the child should live (particularly if one parent wishes to move away following a relationship breakdown)
  • The child's education (particularly in relation to deciding on the type of education provided, receiving school reports and attending parent-teacher meetings)
  • Health care and medical treatment (for example, in making decisions about whether the child receives particular medical treatments, such as inoculations etc.)
  • Changing the child's name
  • Religious upbringing and/or education
  • Going on holiday and leaving the country (all persons with parental responsibility need to give consent before a child is taken abroad. If consent is not given, the parent removing the child from jurisdiction could be charged with child abduction)

Can parental responsibility be removed?

If parental responsibility has been granted via an agreement with the birth mother or a court order, then it can also be removed by a court.

When a child is formally adopted, the new parents become the persons with parental responsibility and any other person who formerly had parental responsibility will relinquish this right, including the birth mother.

What are parents’ parental obligations and rights?

As a parent, you have some fundamental obligations to your child in terms of their welfare, and you also have certain rights in terms of your relationship with the child.

Parents who do not live with their children, whether they have parental responsibility or not, are required by law to pay child maintenance. The court treats parental responsibility and child maintenance as two separate issues and the amount of maintenance to be paid can either be agreed with the primary carer or an assessment will be made by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

Parents have the right to reasonable contact with their child as long as there is no risk to the child's welfare. Unless a prohibited steps order has been put in place by a court to prevent contact, a primary carer (the person with whom the child lives on a day-to-day basis) cannot prevent a non-resident parent from having contact with their child.

An unmarried father who does not have parental responsibility has the right to apply to the court for certain court orders to secure contact with his child and if the child is in the care of the Local Authority, he has the right to reasonable contact.

Contact our London parental responsibility solicitor

For an initial consultation with our child law lawyer in London, please call 020 7622 2221, email or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back.