Can a parent ever lose Parental Responsibility?
2 July 2019 by Julia Brewer
Parental Responsibility is defined as the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, a parent of a child has in relation to that child.
A mother of a child automatically has Parental Responsibility for that child.
A father will acquire Parental Responsibility for a child if he was married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth or subsequently married the child’s mother.
An unmarried father will have Parental Responsibility for the child if the father’s name appears on the child’s birth certificate as his father.
If an unmarried father is not recorded as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate then they can enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the child’s mother or can make an application to the Court for a Parental Responsibility Order.
There are also provisions for the acquisition of Parental Responsibility by a second female parent, by a Step Parent or by another person.
Are there any times when a Parent’s Parental Responsibility will be terminated?
The answer is yes but in some very limited circumstances.
In respect of a mother, the only way for a mother to lose her Parental Responsibility for that child is if the child is made subject to an Adoption Order.
A father with Parental Responsibility would also lose Parental Responsibility if that child were made subject to an Adoption Order.
It is, however, possible for the English Court to remove Parental Responsibility from an unmarried father, without a child being placed for adoption. Such Orders are rare and the circumstances need to be exceptional.
The Courts do not have the power to remove Parental Responsibility from a married father or mother save for an Adoption Order being made.
This has been the subject of challenge in the European Courts, however the position remains at this stage, that the Court has the power to remove Parental Responsibility from an unmarried father but not a married father or a mother unless an Adoption Order is made.
We have an experienced team of family lawyers who are able to advise and assist you on the best possible approach to take – contact Fisher Jones Greenwood by calling 01206 700113 or email [email protected].