Exercise of parental responsibility
Exercise of parental responsibility

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Exercise of parental responsibility
  • Sharing parental responsibility
  • The right of independent action
  • Restrictions on the exercise of parental responsibility
  • Delegation of parental responsibility

Sharing parental responsibility

More than one person may have parental responsibility for the same child at the same time.

A parent does not cease to have parental responsibility solely because another person acquires it.

Where those sharing parental responsibility do not agree as to its exercise, any issue may have to be resolved by the court by the making of an application for a specific issue order or a prohibited steps order.

See Practice Notes: Specific issue orders and Prohibited steps orders.

The right of independent action

Where more than one person has parental responsibility for the same child, each of them may act alone and without the other in meeting that responsibility subject to any enactment that requires the consent in a matter affecting the child.

The ability to act alone is subject to the limitation that a person with parental responsibility may not act in any way that would be incompatible with any order made in respect to the child under the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). Wardship also limits the freedom to exercise parental responsibility.

Parents sharing parental responsibility

Each married parent has parental responsibility and each may exercise it independently, subject to express statutory provisions to the contrary, eg the need to obtain each parent's consent to an adoption order. Unmarried parents where the father has acquired parental responsibility