Q&As

How can a sibling of a 16-year-old child, who is over the age of 21, acquire parental responsibility for that child in circumstances where the mother is terminally ill and the father has parental responsibility for the child but has no contact with the child? Is there any relevant case law in this regard?

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Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 11/03/2019

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How can a sibling of a 16-year-old child, who is over the age of 21, acquire parental responsibility for that child in circumstances where the mother is terminally ill and the father has parental responsibility for the child but has no contact with the child? Is there any relevant case law in this regard?

Section 3 of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) defines parental responsibility as being ‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property’. ChA 1989, s 2 provides that the mother of a child and a married father automatically have parental responsibility; an unmarried father can acquire parental responsibility in a number of ways, including registration on the birth certificate, by an agreement or by court order.

Parental responsibility for a child can be acquired by individuals who are not either parents or step-parents by:

  1. becoming a child’s guardian

  2. being appointed as a special guardian

  3. obtaining a child arrangements order (CAO) in which they are named as a person with whom the child is to live

  4. obtaining a CAO in which they are named as a person with whom the child is to spend time or otherwise have contact

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