The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
A step-parent who wishes to acquire parental responsibility for a step-child with whom they are living may do so by:
entering into a parental responsibility agreement or obtaining an order for parental responsibility—see Practice Note: Acquisition of parental responsibility by step-parents and others
being named in a child arrangements order (CAO) as a person with whom the chid is to live, as a consequence of which they would have parental responsibility for the child while the order remains in force so far as providing for the child to live with them
becoming a special guardian, although this will enable the step-parent to exercise parental responsibility to the exclusion of all other parents with parental responsibility and so would not usually be appropriate in a family involving a step-parent living with a natural parent with parental responsibility
obtaining an order for adoption of the child
See also Practice Note: Acquisition of parental responsibility by step-parents and others.
For completeness, it should also be noted that in the event that the step-parent is no longer living with the child the court may grant them parental responsibility for the child if they are named in a CAO as a person with whom the child is to spend time or otherwise have contact.
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