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Parental responsibility is often one of those issues parents are confused about. In summary, if you are married, you will both have parental responsibility. If you are unmarried, only the mother will have it, but the father can acquire it in a number of ways. Parental responsibility gives you, the parent, responsibility for taking all the important decisions in your child’s life such as education, religion and medical care as well as enabling you to take day-to-day decisions in relation to your child’s nutrition and recreation.
Prior to the case being discussed in this article (CW v SG 2013), the only other reported case on the termination of parental responsibility dates back to 1995 where the judge allowed an application to terminate parental responsibility (acquired by a parental responsibility agreement) in relation to a father who had been sent to prison for causing serious injuries to his child.
CW v SG (2013) concerned a child who was born to the parties in 2004. In 2009 the father pleaded guilty to sexual offences committed on two of the mother's daughters (his child’s half-sisters). He was sentenced to a total of 48 months imprisonment but was released sooner.
The mother issued an application for the termination of his parental responsibility. The judge concluded that the "magnetic factors" in this case were the child’s emotional needs, the harm he had suffered, and the risk of future harm. He concluded that the child’s emotional security would be imperilled were the father to continue to have any further involvement in his life. The father’s parental responsibility was terminated.
For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.Back to Law Articles