Parental Responsibility

A civil partner or member of a same-sex couple can acquire parental responsibility as an unmarried parent or through a court order that affects parental responsibility. A civil partner can also acquire parental responsibility as a step-parent.

Step-parents and parental responsibility

A step-parent can acquire parental responsibility for her/his step-child. A person is a step-parent if:-

A step-parent will acquire parental responsibility for her/his step-child if:-

Parental responsibility orders

A parental responsibility order gives a partner parental responsibility.

Even if the mother objects, the court can make a parental responsibility order if it believes this would be in the interests of the child.

It is becoming more common for a court to grant parental responsibility to a same-sex partner. The factors the court will take into account are the degree of commitment which the partner has shown to the child, the degree of attachment that exists between the partner and the child and the partner's reasons for applying for the order.

The fact that one of the reasons for applying is hostility between the parents is not in itself a reason for the court to refuse. The court will base its decision on what it considers to be the best interests of the child.

Parental responsibility orders come to an end when the child is 18.