Parental Responsibility

The law changed on 1st December 2003, which now makes it easier for unmarried fathers to get equal ‘Parental Responsibility’ for their children.


Parental responsibility for your child gives you important legal rights as well as responsibilities. Without it, you don’t have any right to be involved in decisions such as where they live, their education, religion or medical treatment.


With parental responsibility, you are treated in law as the child’s parent, and you take equal responsibility for bringing them up. Unlike mothers and married fathers, if you are not married to your baby’s mother you do not automatically have parental responsibility for them.


Before this change, you could only gain parental responsibility by later marrying the child’s mother, signing an official agreement with the mother, or getting a court order.


You can still get responsibility in these ways, you might want to think about this if you have other children.


Parental Rights and Responsibilities


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