Grandparent Rights – what is parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility (or PR) is “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and the authority which, by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”. These include issues relating to their education, medical treatment, changes to their name, where the child should live and matters concerning the child’s religion.

Every person with PR for a child has a right to be consulted in relation to any important decisions made in respect of that child – such as decisions concerning medical treatment or education. They are also entitled to see documentation concerning the child, including school reports and medical reports.

A child’s mother automatically has PR for the child. A father’s situation is more complex:

I. For children born to parents who are married the father automatically gets PR. If the parties later divorce the father keeps PR

II. For children born before 1st December 2003 to unmarried parents the father does not automatically have PR even if his name is on the birth certificate. He can however get PR in the ways outlined below:

III. For children born after 1st December 2003 to unmarried parents when the father’s name is entered on the birth certificate he automatically gets PR

IV. For children born after 1st December 2003 to unmarried parents when the father’s name is not on the birth certificate he does not automatically get parental responsibility and, if he wants it, will have to acquire parental responsibility as outlined below:

There are a number of ways to get PR:

i. The child’s birth can be reregistered by agreement of both parties

ii. A parental responsibility agreement can be entered into by both parents

iii. The father can apply to the court for a parental responsibility order. The court will look at a number of factors including the father’s commitment and attachment to the children.

How can grandparents get parental responsibility?

Grandparents can acquire parental responsibility for their grandchildren if a Child Arrangement Order is made in their favour. If you want to know more about the possibility of obtaining these orders talk to our specialist lawyers.

Grandparent Rights – legal costs and legal aid

The legal costs in cases involving grandparents rights vary enormously – depending on the attitudes of the parties, the circumstances of the case, the number of issues and, generally, the amount of involvement between the client and their solicitor.

It is unusual for the court to make costs orders against one party in children proceedings; courts do have power to make a costs order against a party felt to have acted unreasonably – though this power is used very rarely.

Some grandparents may be eligible for legal aid (or public funding as it is called these days). An eligibility assessment is routinely undertaken as part of the FREE advice we offer in family law cases.

Grandparent Rights – get in touch with us for expert advice

Legal problems in relation to living with or seeing your grandchildren? Our team can help you wherever you and your grandchildren live in England and Wales.

For simple and straightforward advice you can rely on please contact our Grandparent Rights specialists today

  • Call us on 0161 359 3880 or 01204 377600 or email enquiries@afglaw.co.uk today.