Step parents' rights Jones Myers Family Law Leeds Harrogate York

Step parents’ rights

We understand that every family is different

Helping modern families

We often receive questions from step-mothers and step-fathers regarding their rights to step children. A step-parent does not automatically have Parental Responsibility. Securing this becomes significant when you assume the day-to-day caregiving role for your partner’s children, particularly in situations where your partner might be absent for extended periods, requiring another individual to be present for crucial decision-making. There are a number of ways in which a step-parent can obtain parental responsibility for their step-child; a parental responsibility agreement, an application to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order and/or a Child Arrangements Order.

What rights do step parents have?

Parental Responsibility is defined in the Children Act 1989 as being all the “rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.

As a step-parent, your level of involvement in the day-to-day care of your partner’s child or your financial contributions to their upbringing does not grant you Parental Responsibility for the child. The birth parents of the family’s children are the ones who maintain “Parental Responsibility,” granting them the authority to make decisions regarding the upbringing of the children.

Can I obtain parental responsibility?

Since 2005, a married step-parent has had the opportunity to obtain Parental Responsibility, similar to how an unmarried father might secure Parental responsibility provided there is agreement among all individuals already holding Parental Responsibility for the child, typically the birth parents.

An unmarried, or married step-parent may also acquire parental responsibility by way of a Step Parent Parental Responsibility Agreement or court order, whether that is through a, Parental Responsibility Order,  Child Arrangements Order, or by adopting their partner’s child.

Talk to us

    April 4, 2024

    How to avoid a tug of paws on who keeps the pet

    January 18, 2024

    How to Protect Children From a Fractious Court Divorce

    December 14, 2023

    Santa comes twice – a festive solution for separated parents

    December 12, 2023

    A Child Inclusive Mediation Guide – as Featured in The Divorce Magazine