The following Family Q&A Produced in partnership with Kyle Squire of 5 Pump Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
A putative father of a child only obtains parental responsibility for that child if one of the criteria in the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) is satisfied. The most common of those criteria includes, inter alia:
the putative father was married to the mother at the time of the birth
he is registered as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate pursuant to the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953
he and the mother make an agreement providing for him to have parental responsibility
the court, on his application, orders that he shall have parental responsibility for the child (note that a parental responsibility order must be made where a child arrangements order is made that the child lives with the father
If none of those criteria apply, the putative father does not have parental responsibility, and therefore, the mother need not take any steps.
If the putative father does have parental responsibility, ChA 1989, s 4(2A) provides:
‘A person who has acquired parental responsibility under subsection [the relevant provisions] shall cease to have that responsibility only if the court so orders.’
The mother may apply for an order pursuant to ChA 1989, s 4(2A) that the putative father’s parental responsibility is removed.
There are few reported cases setting out the circumstances in which parental responsibility can properly be
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