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Family Law Services from Comptons Solicitors

Children and Parenting

Child Custody & Child Arrangements Order Lawyers London

Understanding and obtaining Parental Responsibility

Under Children Act 1989, Parental Responsibility (“PR”) is defined as all legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authorities a parent has in respect of their child. If you have PR for a child, you can make important decisions necessary in a child’s life relating to education, health and medical treatment, and religion etc.

Based in Camden in North London, our experienced family lawyers help clients across England & Wales. We are rated #1 locally on ReviewSolicitors. Contact us on +44 20 7485 0888 or complete our online enquiry form to speak to one of our specialist family lawyers for a free initial telephone consultation.

Fixed fee & payment plans available. Our dedicated and experienced team of family lawyers have over 30 years’ experience and offer pragmatic, clear and concise advice in all areas of family law.

Who has Parental Responsibility (PR)?

A biological mother automatically has PR of the child. A father will also automatically have PR for the child, if he were married to the mother when the child is born. Unmarried fathers will have PR for the child, if they are named on the birth certificate from 1st December 2003 and jointly registered the child’s birth with the mother.

How can I obtain PR if I do not have PR for a child automatically?
  • Father’s Rights – If a father does not automatically have PR, he can enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement, or apply for a Parental Responsibility Order.
  • Step Parent’s Rights – A step parent can obtain PR, if they are married to the mother, or they are the civil partner of a parent who has PR in respect of the child, by entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement, or by applying to the Court for a Parental Responsibility Order. 

Looking for legal advice regarding children and Parental Responsibility? Get in touch.

Who to speak to at Comptons

Kiran Reyat
Head of Family Law
+44 (0)20 4538 5417

lesbian couple rights comptons solicitors
What about civil partners or mothers and married lesbian couples?

If the child was conceived by artificial insemination on or after 6 April 2009 and you were in a civil partnership your civil partner will automatically have PR for the child.

If you were married to your same-sex spouse (married lesbian couple) and the child was conceived by artificial insemination, your spouse will automatically have parental responsibility for the child.

Both names should be added to the birth certificate and your child will have no legal father.

What rights do I have as a Grandparent?

Despite not having any legal rights to see their grandchildren in England and Wales, there are a number of options grandparents can consider if dealing with special circumstances. 

In England and Wales, Grandparents do not have legal rights to see their grandchildren, nor do they have Parental Responsibility. Despite this, there are a number of options grandparents can consider. A grandparent is able to apply for a Parental Responsibility Order, or a Special Guardianship Order (in certain circumstances).

Parents have the legal right to choose who their children spend time with which includes grandparents and extended family. A grandparent can apply to the Court for permission to apply for an Order to spend time with their grandchildren.

Our Approach

During the breakdown of a relationship it is often difficult for parents/guardians to reach agreements about where the children will live, how much time they are going to spend with the non-resident parent, which school they should attend and even religious practice.

We have a dedicated team at Comptons Solicitors’ Family Law Portal that will assist you in negotiations to reach an agreeable solution, by leading you through your matter, taking into account the emotional sensitivity and life-altering nature of the situation.

Looking to better understand the process?

Download our free flowchart here.

Understanding Orders

What Order can I apply for to spend time with my child, or have a child live with me? 

If separated parents are not able to reach an agreement about who the child/ren should live with or how much time they should spend with the non-resident parent, an application for Child Arrangements Order (‘live with order’ or ‘spends time with order’ can be made under the Children Act 1989 (previously known as a ‘Residence’ Order or ‘Contact’ Order).

What Order can I apply for if we are unable to reach an agreement about schooling, medical care or any other issue?

If parents are unable to reach an agreement on issues in respect of their child/ren, an application for a Specific Issue Order can be made. This order is sought from the family court to determine a specific question which has, or may arise, in connection with any aspect of Parental Responsibility for a child.

What Order can I apply for if I wanted to prevent a party from doing something? 

You could apply for a Prohibited Steps Order if you have concerns about your child possibly being taken out of the country, not allowing your child to spend time with a specific person, or to not allow a specific person to attend the child’s school.

Are there any other circumstances that I can obtain PR for a child?

Yes, you can apply for one of the following:

  • Child Arrangements Order – Also known as a “Lives with order” for a child, which could include a non-biological parent.
  • Adoption Order – To make an adoption legal, you need to apply for an adoption court order. This gives you parental rights and responsibilities for the child.
  • Special Guardianship Order – Appointing a carer to be a ‘special guardian’ until a child turns 18. This is usually applied for when a child has been placed in the care of a family member or close friend because the parents are unable to care for a child. The ‘special guardian’ shares PR with the parents and can make major day-to-day decisions without consulting the parents.