Erin is 17 and has had a baby with Neil who is 19. Erin and Neil weren’t together when the baby was born and Neil wasn’t listed as the father on the birth certificate. Erin has told Neil that he cannot see the child and she doesn’t want him to have anything to do with the baby. Neil knows that he may have rights and responsibilities to the child but he is not sure what his rights are or how he can obtain them.

Neil contacts Clan Childlaw in order to find out his rights, he is told that Erin as the mother automatically gets parental rights and responsibilities when the child is born but the father automatically gets parental rights and responsibilities when the father is married to the mother or if he is named on the birth certificate. As Neil is neither married to Erin or on the birth certificate, he would only be able to exercise his rights and responsibilities if Erin agrees or if a court order allows him to have parental responsibilities. If a court order is made the court will have decide whether it is in the best interests of the child that Neil is granted parental responsibilities.

Parental responsibilities include looking after the child and ensuring the child is healthy, making sure the child goes to school, providing direction and guidance to the child, making sure they stay in direct contact with the child and acting as the child’s legal representative. Parental rights include having the child with them and deciding whether the child should be living, having control in making decisions over what is best for the child, having contact with the child if they are not living with them and acting as the child’s legal representative.

If you have had an issue regarding parental responsibilities whether it be that you have a situation like Neil or if you have a situation regarding who has parental responsibilities over you, perhaps you are unhappy with who has parental responsibilities and want this to be changed, you can contact Clan Childlaw for more information or to speak with a solicitor. 

More information on parental rights and responsibilities.