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:-
- s/he is the spouse or civil partner of a child's parent; and
- s/he is not the child's parent her/himself; and
- the child's parent has parental responsibility for the child.
A step-parent will acquire parental responsibility for her/his step-child
- the child's parent (or both the child's parents if both have parental
responsibility) make(s) a parental responsibility agreement with the step-parent
to give the step-parent parental responsibility; or
- a court orders that the step-parent shall have parental responsibility.
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.