What are the rights of a father?
It is often considered that if a parent dies, the survivor will automatically become the sole legal guardian of that child. This is untrue. A mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child from birth, however the conditions for fathers gaining parental responsibility vary. A father only has automatic responsibility if he is married to the mother when the child is born or has acquired parental responsibility for his child through one of these three routes:
From the 1st Dec 2003, jointly registering the birth with the mother
- Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother (prepared by a solicitor)
- Parental Responsibility Order made by a Court
Living with the mother even for a long time does not give a father parental responsibility and if the parents are not married, parental responsibility does not always pass to the natural father if the mother dies.
All parents (including adoptive parents) have a legal duty to financially support their child whether they have parental responsibility or not.
For this reason it is imperative for anyone with children to write a suitable Will which provides for both their welfare and financial security.
If you need further help or advice on dealing with estate administration or require more information on Probate or Wills in general, please call The Probate Bureau‘s free helpline on 0800 028 2837