Parental Responsibility

By Paul Hunt at 10:33

Legislation has been proposed which would appear to be intended to remove the status of Parental Responsibility of a father who is convicted of the most serious sexual offence involving a child i.e. rape child under 13. 

Parental Responsibility is a legal status which enables a person to be involved with and make decisions about matters concerning a child’s welfare.   This would consist of all the usual sort of decisions that parents must make regarding where children live, go to school, what happens with their medical treatment, name they are known by, whether they are taken out of the country for any reason. 

A mother automatically has Parental Responsibility, and a father has it if he was married to the mother or if his name appears on the child’s birth certificate. 

A father can retain Parental Responsibility even if he has no contact with the children because he has failed to obtain it or if he has chosen not to.  Either way he still has that legal status, and this still has weight for example when it comes to seeking consent to the removal of a child from the jurisdiction of the court even if only for holiday purposes. 

This means that a person who has committed an extremely serious offence has precluded the possibility of having contact with his own children and still exercise an influence from afar and require a mother to make applications to the court if his consent is not forthcoming for holidays abroad of other significant changes. 

The intention of this proposed amendment would appear to be to take the convicted person out of the equation so that they no longer need to be consulted and no longer can they exert control. 

Not having Parental Responsibility does not mean that a father cannot make applications to the court himself relating to his children.  Losing that status, however, means that he would not have to be consulted of applications made to the court in the absence of his consent whether or not that consent is reasonably withheld. 




Paul Hunt

Paul Hunt , Senior Associate

As a senior solicitor Paul is responsible for cases involving divorce or separation, children, financial and property issues and domestic violence.

He is member of Resolution panel for private children law, ancillary relief and domestic violence. Paul is also trained in Collaborative Law.

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