Parental Responsibility concerns the rights, duties, powers and responsibilities that a parent has by law in respect of a child. For example, making decisions about where a child should attend school, what religious faith a child should be reared in, if any, or agreeing to their medical treatment. If a child’s mother and father are married or in a civil partnership, both automatically Parental Responsibility for their child.
However, if a child’s parents are not married or in a civil partnership, only the mother automatically has Parental Responsibility from the child’s birth. In this circumstance, fathers may acquire Parental Responsibility in several ways, namely by:
· Subsequently marrying or, becoming the civil partner of the mother, provided that the child is under the age of 18
· Becoming registered as the child’s father. This requires the consent of the mother and the compilation of forms with the General Registrar Office for NI.