1. What is parental responsibility?

All mothers and most fathers have legal rights and responsibilities as a parent - known as ‘parental responsibility’.

If you have parental responsibility, your most important roles are to:

  • provide a home for the child
  • protect and maintain the child

If you have parental responsibility for a child you don’t live with, you don’t necessarily have a right to contact with them - but the other parent still needs to keep you updated about their well-being and progress.

You’re also responsible for:

  • disciplining the child
  • choosing and providing for the child’s education
  • agreeing to the child’s medical treatment
  • naming the child and agreeing to any change of name
  • looking after the child’s property

Parents have to ensure that their child is supported financially, whether they have parental responsibility or not.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.