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Parental responsibility (PR) is where an adult is responsible for the care and well-being of their child and can make important decisions about the following points for example:
A married couple who have children together both automatically have parental responsibility. After a divorce, parental responsibility continues. From a legal standpoint, mothers automatically have parental responsibility. Where the parents are not married, the umarried father has parental responsibility if:
Others, such as grandparents and stepparents, do not have parental responsibilty. They can acquire it by:
If you are living permanently with a child, in a parental role, you may feel that you want the authority, stability and recognition. This is especially so if the other parent has no contact, or is abroad, unknown or dead. Without parental responsibility you cannot make the decisions about a child's life, such as choice of school or religion, surname or guardian on your death. If you are a stepparent, you cannot automatically have the child live with you on the death of a resident parent unless you have parental responsibility and so the other parent (providing that he or she has parental responsibilty) may have a greater claim for the child to live with them.
No. Several people can have parental responsibility at the same time. Adoption and care proceedings are different. Parental responsibility can be lost where:
If you have to go to court there is a duty to deal promptly with all matters concerning children and applications are treated as priority matters. The court fees are straightforward, but if you have to go to court you should obtain legal advice and discuss fees with your solicitor.
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