Parental rights and responsibilities

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Apply for parental responsibility

If you’re not the mother, you can apply to court to get parental responsibility.

You need to be connected to the child, for example as their father, step-parent or 2nd female parent.

More than 2 people can have parental responsibility for the same child.

Scotland has its own set of rules, covered under ‘ordinary cause procedures’.

Sign a parental responsibility agreement

If you’re a father who wants parental responsibility and the mother agrees, fill in a parental responsibility agreement.

There’s a different agreement form for step parents.

Take the agreement to your local family court where it can be signed and witnessed.

Also take the child’s birth certificate and proof of your identity, like a passport or driving licence.

Send 2 copies of the form to the address below:

Principal Registry of the Family Division
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn

Apply for a court order

If you want parental responsibility but cannot agree on arrangements with the mother, you can apply for a court order.

A court order costs £232.

You may be able to get help with court fees if you’re on benefits or a low income.

To apply, fill in the application for an order (C1).

Send this to your local family court.

If you and your partner use a surrogate to have a child, you’ll need to apply for a parental order.