Parental Rights Myths

Myth

“Of course I have full Parental Responsibility for my son even though I am not married to his mother. I am his natural father.”

Fact: Click to view

Only the mother will automatically have Parental Responsibility. However, for children whose birth is registered on or since 1st December 2003, the father will acquire Parental Responsibility if he is named as the child’s father on the birth certificate. He may also acquire parental responsibility if he enters into a Parental Responsibility Contract with the mother, or the court grants one.

Myth

“He/she is only my step-child so I have no rights even though I’ve been more like a dad to them than their own father.”

Fact: Click to view

There is normally a right to see the child regularly if it is in their best interest. A court would almost certainly award equal general rights as those of the natural parent, especially if the step-child has been looked after by you for some years. Note, though, that there may also be an obligation upon you to pay maintenance for that child.