An agreement made between the mother and the unmarried father to allow him to have joint parental responsibility.
This parental responsibility agreement, in a “Download Now” PDF format, is a legal form made between the mother and the unmarried father to allow him to have joint parental responsibility.
When do you need a parental responsibility agreement?
All parents want to be able to make decisions, or at least be involved in the making of decisions, regarding the wellbeing of their children.
Every mother automatically has parental responsibility and fathers who are married to the mother at the time of their child's birth also have automatic parental responsibility.
But if couples are unmarried, then making decisions about your children's welfare may not be easy.
If you're a father, but you're not married to your partner, then you may not have the right to make important decisions concerning the children.
If your child was born in England & Wales before 1 December 2003, or 4 May 2006 in Scotland, and your name is not on the birth certificate and you're not married to their mother, then only the mother has automatic parental responsibility.
And even if the mother with parental responsibility dies, the unmarried surviving father still doesn't gain automatic parental responsibility unless the father has a court order or makes a parental responsibility agreement.
A parental responsibility agreement lets a father legally set out his right to make decisions as to the children's welfare either in the mother's absence or jointly with her.
Both parties can agree to enter into a parental responsibility agreement (known as a 'parental responsibilities and parental rights agreement' in Scotland) to give the father the right to be involved in making these decisions.
A parental responsibility agreement is a contract entered into by both parents that allows both parents to have parental responsibility for the wellbeing of their child or children or can give authorisation to allow the unmarried father to have responsibility for his child in the absence of the mother.
The parental responsibility agreement gives the father the right to be consulted when the mother makes major decisions regarding the welfare of the child(ren); for example, their education, religious instruction and medical care.
Providing both parties are happy to make a parental responsibility agreement, the process is quite straightforward:
In England & Wales, the parental responsibility agreement will be sent to the Principal Registry for the Family Division where it is registered. In Scotland, the signed parental responsibilities and parental rights
agreement is registered with the books of council and session.
The parental responsibility agreement doesn't properly start until the date it is registered
An application for the parental responsibility agreement to be cancelled can be made to the court and but the reasons why the agreement should be cancelled must be given in person.
Otherwise, the parental responsibility agreement continues to stay in operation and remains legal until the child(ren) have reached the age of 18.