The Children Act of 1989 deals with the law in relation to children

What is PR?

s3(1) of the Children Act defines PR as “all the rights duties powers responsibilities and authority by law that a parent has in relation to a child and their property”. PR attempts to focus on the parent’s duties towards the child as opposed to their rights over the child.

Who has it?

When a child is born the mother automatically has PR. If the father is married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth the father will also have automatic PR. If the mother and father are not married at the time of the child’s birth the father can acquire PR in the following ways:

a. by marrying or entering a civil partnership with the mother;
b. by being named on the birth certificate – this only applies to births registered after 1 December 2003. Prior to this if the father was named on the child’s birth certificate they did not automatically have parental responsibility for the child;
c. by entering a parental responsibility agreement with the mother.
d. by applying to the Court for a Parental Responsibility Order.
e. by being named in a Child Arrangements Order as to living.

In practice, exercising PR enables those with PR to make certain decisions in relation to the child. For example, applying for a passport, choosing which school the child will attend, making medical and consenting to taking the child overseas for holidays or extended stays.
It is possible to delegate responsibility for your child to another person but you cannot completely transfer your PR to someone else.

How can you prove you have PR if asked to do so?

The first option would be to ask the mother to confirm you have PR for the child. If this is not possible, if you are a registered parent you can produce a copy of the child’s birth certificate. A copy can be obtained from your local Registry Office for a fee.

If you are or were married or in a civil partnership with the mother of the child, you can produce a copy of your certificate or your Decree Absolute or Dissolution if applicable. A copy certificate is available from your local Registry Office for a fee or if you require a copy of your Decree Absolute or Dissolution, this can be obtained from the Court who granted the document.

If you require any further information in relation to the topics raised, please contact a member of the family team for an initial discussion



Information on this website is for the general purpose of highlighting potential issues and is not advice specific to any particular situation.

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