Parental rights and responsibilities

What are Parental Responsibilities?

As a parent you have a responsibility to look after the growth, health and welfare of your child.

Mothers and married fathers get parental responsibilities and rights automatically.  For an unmarried father to get parental responsibilities and rights he has to:  

  • be married to the mother when the child is conceived or at any point afterwards or
  • jointly register the child’s birth with the mother and be named on the child’s birth certificate (from 4 May 2006).

Both resident and non-resident parents can have Parental Responsibilities and Rights. 

 

What are Parental rights?

Parental rights give you a legal right to influence important decisions in your child’s life such as: 

  • where your child will live
  • what school your child will attend
  • consenting to medical treatment should your child need it 

Parental responsibilities and parental rights agreement

If for any reason you are not there to register the birth of your child but do want parental responsibilities and rights, you could enter into a formal agreement, called a parental responsibilities and parental rights agreement, with your child’s mother.

 

Court order

A father who does not have parental rights and responsibilities may be able to ask the court to review this. Legal aid may also be available

 

Need more info?

Points to remember:

  • Parental responsibilities are the responsibilities you have as a parent to look after the growth, health and welfare of your child.
  • Parental rights give you the legal right to influence important decisions in your child’s life.

Both responsibilities and rights are automatically given to a child’s mother and married father. For an unmarried father to get parental responsibilities and rights he must be there to jointly register the child’s birth with the mother and be named on the birth certificate on or after 4 May 2006 or enter into a formal agreement, called a parental responsibilities and parental rights agreement

 

 

Last Updated: 16 October 2014
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