What is parental responsibility?
Parental responsibility is defined in the Children Ordinance as ‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and the child’s property.’
- Authority to make decisions about medical treatment;
- Authority to make decisions about education;
- Responsibility to promote the child’s wellbeing;
- Duty of care.
The Children Ordinance also states:
The fact that a person has, or does not have, parental responsibility for a child does not affect-
(a) any obligation which that person may have in relation to the child (such as a statutory duty to maintain the child); or
(b) any rights which, in the event of the child's death, that person (or any other person) may have in relation to the child's property.
How do I know if I have Parental Responsibility?
A mother of a child will have parental responsibility unless;
- There has been a court order terminating the parental responsibility; or
- The child has been adopted.
A father of a child will have parental responsibility in the Falkland Islands if:
- At the time of the child’s birth, the parents were married or in a civil partnership and the father is named on the birth certificate; or
- If the child was registered in the Falkland Islands on or after 1st November 2015, a father may have acquired parental responsibility if he is named on the child’s birth certificate;
- If the child was registered in the United Kingdom a father may have acquired parental responsibility if he is named on the child’s birth certificate;
- By agreement between the mother and father, which is then endorsed by court order; or
- By court order.
You will also have parental responsibility if:
- You hold residence order for the child;
- You hold an emergency protection order or care order for the child;
- You are the child’s guardian;
- You have adopted the child;
- You are the child’s special guardian
How can I get parental responsibility?
A person can obtain parental responsibility by
1) making an agreement with everyone else who has parental responsibility that you should have parental responsibility; or
2) making an application to the court.
Parental Responsibility Agreements
A parental responsibility agreement may be completed by those who have parental responsibility and the person seeking it. It is a legal document in which the child’s mother and father agree that the father has parental responsibility for the child, or in which a child’s mother and father (if he already has parental responsibility) agree that the child’s step-parent has parental responsibility for the child.
Once the form is completed it should be presented to the court. There may be a fee payable. Once submitted to the court, it will be reviewed for any safeguarding and wellbeing concerns and, if agreed, a court order will be produced and sent to the parties. This document should be kept safe.
If the court has any concerns about the child’s wellbeing, or there is a court order in place regarding the child, the agreement may be listed for hearing before the family proceedings court.
If you cannot agree with the other people who have parental responsibility, you may make an application to the court by completing form C1.
An application will initiate proceedings and there will be a hearing listed.
There may be a fee payable.