Guidance on Acquiring or Terminating Parental Rights and Responsibilities According to the Law.

Parental responsibility is a crucial matter that must be taken seriously by anyone who makes significant decisions on behalf of a child, such as determining their school or living arrangements.

While most birth or adoptive parents assume legal responsibility for their child, some situations may be less straightforward. Fortunately, Lanyon Bowdler's family law solicitors are available to assist with all aspects of parental responsibility. Whether acquiring the status concerning a stepchild or other relations, or removing parental responsibility, our team has the experience and expertise to navigate the process successfully.

Simply put, parental responsibility denotes the legal rights, duties, and obligations that parents have towards their children. This encompasses ensuring a safe home, meeting their children's needs, making proper arrangements for their care and education, and making critical decisions, such as their name, school, medical treatment, consent to school and extra-curricular activities, travelling abroad, and religion. All biological mothers automatically bear parental responsibility for their children, and fathers mostly do so if they are married to the child's mother or identified on the child's birth certificate.

Other persons with parental duty for a child include anyone holding a Parental Responsibility Order, such as stepparents, parents through surrogacy arrangements or those who have been granted a Live With (Residence) Order.

If one isn't naturally authorised to take parental responsibility for a child, there are several choices:

    Parental Responsibility Agreement: This is the most straightforward approach to obtaining parental responsibility since it does not necessitate court application, requiring everyone holding parental responsibility's consent. An official document endorsed by all parties at court is legally binding and lasts until the child turns 18.

    Parental Responsibility Order: If the child does not have the consent of all those with parental responsibility, one can apply for a court order. The applicant must have a connection with the child, such as a father, stepparent, or the second female parent. The court considers the child's best interests, their relationship with the applicant, attachment level, and the application's rationale, among other factors.

    While parental responsibility cannot be removed from a biological mother unless the child is adopted, it is rare for it to be revoked from a father unless there are extreme circumstances such as abusive behaviour, withholding medical treatment, or adoption. The court will prioritise mediation for resolving issues in the child's best interests.

    If those with parental responsibility cannot reach an agreement, one person with parental responsibility may make decisions for the child, such as allowing a school trip. However, if major decisions involve medical treatment or moving abroad, one can apply for a Specific Issue Order or a Prohibited Steps Order if parents disagree.

    Order for Specific Issues

    In the case that parents are unable to come to an agreement on a particular issue concerning their child, the court can issue an order to address that specific issue. The court will examine the evidence at hand and make a decision based on what is in the best interest of the child.

    Prohibition Order

    If the court believes that a parent is about to take an action that would harm the child, such as relocating them overseas without the other parent's consent, they can issue a Prohibition Order to prevent the action from being taken. However, the court must be completely satisfied that making the order is in the child's best interest.

    If possible, mediation will be proposed before any legal action is taken. This can avoid unnecessary stress and cost for all parties involved. At Lanyon Bowdler, we specialize in collaborative law and can assist with the negotiations during this stage.

    Why We Are Passionate

    At Lanyon Bowdler, we understand the various challenges that families face every day and as a family-oriented team, we are dedicated to achieving the best possible results for you, your loved ones, and your children. We work hard to ensure that everything runs smoothly and combine our legal expertise with our passion for helping families achieve the right outcome as swiftly as possible.

    Our Expertise

    Our legal specialists are experts in resolving parental responsibility disputes and aim to find solutions outside of the court when possible. At Lanyon Bowdler, we excel in collaborative law and aim to reach agreements through discussion and dialogue with the other parties involved in order to secure a prompt resolution to your case. However, if this is not feasible, we can provide you with high-quality advocacy and guidance through the legal proceedings and offer clarity through this often complicated process.

    We devote a great deal of time and attention to preparing for court hearings, paying close attention to detail to ensure the most favorable results for you and your family. Our team is highly motivated and passionate about making a positive difference for you. We are known for delivering exceptional customer service and are trusted by our clients as well as the legal industry.

    Lanyon Bowdler is included in The Legal 500's 2020 edition, an independent national guide of recommended law firms. We are also recognized by Chambers UK in its rankings of leading solicitors. Our family law department comprises members of the Law Society Family Panel as well as accredited specialists of Resolution, a national organization of family lawyers. We are proud to be leaders in the field of family law and our commitment and empathy make us the top choice for child and family law.


    At Lanyon Bowdler, we understand that legal costs can be a concern for many clients. We believe that budget should not be a barrier to the legal support you deserve and therefore offer flexible pricing plans, including fixed fees and pay-as-you-go arrangements, tailored to suit your specific circumstance. We value transparency and will provide you with a clear idea of the likely costs and service level guarantees from the outset.

    Contact Lanyon Bowdler's Family Law Specialists

    For expert legal counsel and representation, contact our specialist family lawyers at Lanyon Bowdler for a tailored and friendly approach. We have ample experience in handling delicate and complex cases and can help you regardless of your situation.

    Our offices are situated in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry and Telford. We represent clients throughout Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales, and the Midlands, including Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Additionally, we represent national clients from our top-performing law firm.

    For a confidential discussion about how we can offer you the support you need, please feel free to contact us via phone or our online enquiry form. Someone from our team will respond promptly to discuss your options.

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