How can a father find out if he has parental responsibility for his child?
Under 1 minute read
If the father and mother were married either before or after the birth of their child, the father will have parental responsibility.
What if a father and mother were not married?
If a child was born after 2003, their father can check the child’s birth certificate to see if he is named on it as the father. If he is, then this means he is registered as the child’s father.
These are different ways to see the birth certificate:
- Ask the mother
- Ask children’s services for a copy, or
- Search for it on the register of birth, deaths and marriages here.
Where a father is registered as the child’s father on the birth certificate, he will have parental responsibility for the child.
What if a father has a written agreement with the mother?
A valid agreement with a mother for a father to have parental responsibility must:
- Be signed by a court officer
- Registered at the Central Family Court.
If these things have not been done the agreement will not be recognised as legal. Any father who thinks he has a written agreement can check to see if the agreement is signed by a court officer.
For information about entering into a parental responsibility agreement see our What is parental responsibility and when do fathers have, or get, it? page.
What if a court order has been made about a child?
Parental responsibility can be part of certain court orders.
A father will have parental responsibility if the Family Court has:
- Made a parental responsibillity order which names him as the father (see section 4(1)(c) of the Children Act 1989)
- Made a child arrangements order saying his child should live with him.
It is a good idea to check any court order to see what type it is and what it says.
The form has to be filled in and then the Family Court with a fee of £215. Fathers who are on a low income or in receipt of benefits may be able to get help with their court fees. They will need to apply online here.
For information about applying for a parental responsibility order see our What is parental responsibility and when do fathers have, or get, it? page.
To seek legal advice in relation to parental responsibility, fathers can:
- Post a question on our Parents Forum and receive advice from one of Family Rights Group’s expert advisers
- If needing further or more detailed advice, call Family Rights Group’s specialist legal and practice advice line on 0808 801 0366 (the advice line is open Monday to Friday, from 9.30 am to 3 pm excluding bank holidays)
- Find a solicitor who is a specialist in children law. Or who has Children Law Accreditation. To find a solicitor, search using the ‘how to find a solicitor’ function on the Law Society website. See our Working with a solicitor guide on our Top tips and templates page for more information about finding and working with a solicitor.