Parental responsibility (or “PR”) is a set of rights and duties that you need to perform in relation to your child. It includes providing a home for your child, determining all aspects of their upbringing, and providing care, protection, guidance and control, as well as safeguarding your child’s health, education, development and welfare. But how do you know if you have it, and what if parents don’t agree?

In Guernsey, mothers will always have PR for their children. If your child was born after 4th January 2010, fathers will automatically have PR if they are married to the child’s mother when it is born. If the parents are unmarried at the time of birth, the most common way fathers get PR is by being registered as the father on the birth certificate, or by written agreement with the mother. If necessary, an application can be made to court to get PR.

PR is not limited to mothers and fathers. Other people, such as grandparents or aunts and uncles, can get PR by making an application to court, in certain circumstances.

Inevitably, sometimes parents will disagree on how to bring up their child – for example, which school the child will attend, who they will live with, or how often contact will take place. While it is always best to resolve the issue amicably, sometimes the court needs to decide the question. Speaking to an advocate if any differences arise, or simply if you have a question about your rights, is helpful, and at Ferbrache & Farrell we are ready to advise you on what is best for you and, most importantly, what is best for your child.