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Applying for an order that gives you ‘parental responsibility’

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This section of our website provides information on applications made to a family court for parental responsibility. 

Parental responsibility means that a person is responsible for the care and wellbeing of their child and is expected to make important decisions about the child’s life.  

All birth mothers have parental responsibility for their child from the moment of birth. This can only be removed if the child is adopted, or is born through surrogacy (and a Parental Order is applied for to transfer legal parenthood from the surrogate to the intended parents). 

A father has parental responsibility in these circumstances: 

• he was married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth; 

• he is named on the birth certificate; 

• he is later added to the birth certificate when the birth is ‘re-registered’; 

• he has entered into a parental responsibility agreement with the child’s mother; 

• if he has what was called a ‘residence order’ for the child, that was made before 22 April 2014; or 

• if he has a ‘child arrangements order’ which states the child ‘lives with’ him. 

If none of the above apply, then a standalone parental responsibility order can be applied for. Other connected adults may also be able to apply for a parental responsibility order, this could be the child’s step-parent or a second female parent. 

The applicant should fill out a form C1 and send it to their local family court. 

There are three types of applications for parental responsibility as follows: 

Please click from one of the links above to find out more about each type of application. 

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