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Who has parental responsibility for my child?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including-

  • Whether the parents are or have ever been married,
  • Where in the UK the child's birth was registered, and
  • When the child was born

Parental responsibility checker

The below tool can be used to determine who has parental responsibility for your child. We will ask you a series of questions and then present you with the outcome depending on the answers you give. It should take no more than a minute to complete.

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Where was your child's birth registered?

Please read this section in full before you submit your application.

Mothers

Throughout the United Kingdom mothers are automatically granted parental responsibility over their children at birth. Unless there is a court order in place removing that right, the child's mother must consent to a child's name being changed.

Fathers

Please go to the sub-section which applies to you:

For births registered in England and Wales

If the mother and father of a child were married at the time of the child's birth, or at any time thereafter, the father has parental responsibility. Fathers who have not been married to their child's mother are granted parental responsibility if the child's birth was registered on or after the 1st of December 2003 and he is named on the birth certificate.

For births registered in Scotland

If the mother and father of a child were married at the point of conception, or at any time thereafter, the father has parental responsibility. Fathers who have not been married to their child's mother are granted parental responsibility if the child's birth was registered on or after the 4th of May 2006 and he is named on the birth certificate.

For births registered in Northern Ireland

If the mother and father of a child were married at the time of the child's birth the father has parental responsibility. If the mother and father marry at any time after the child's birth and the father is domiciled in Northern Ireland, he is granted parental responsibility. Fathers who have not been married to their child's mother are granted parental responsibility if the child's birth was registered on or after the 15th of April 2002 and he is named on the birth certificate.

Step parents

Step parents only acquire parental responsibility for their step child if-

  • A court order is granted awarding parental responsibility,
  • The step parent and parents enter into a court-registered agreement,
  • A court grants a Residence Order in favour of the step parent,
  • The step parent adopts the child, or
  • The step parent is appointed as guardian of the child by a court

Adoptive parents

The people named on a child's adoption certificate automatically acquire parental responsibility for the child and anyone who held parental responsibility for the child before adoption loses that right.

Legally change your child's name today!

Cost Calculator

Use this tool to calculate the total cost of your deed poll application:

Deed poll type
Number of copies
Delivery method
Estimated delivery
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Total cost
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