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.