Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which a parent has by law in relation to a child. Parental Responsibility diminishes as the child acquires sufficient understanding to make his or her own decisions.

A child's mother always holds Parental Responsibility, as does the father if married to the mother.

Unmarried fathers do not have parental responsibility under Manx Law. They can acquire Parental Responsibility with the agreement of the mother; this should be registered with the General Registry by completing the relevant form. When agreement is not reached, the father may make application to the Family Courts to acquire Parental Responsibility.

Parental responsibility can be acquired by any person through a Court Order, for example a Residence Order. As well as an unmarried father, a step parent or a parent's civil partner can apply for a Parental Responsibility Order under section 4 of the Children Act 1989.

The Department acquires Parental Responsibility through an Emergency Protection Order, an Interim Care Order and Care Order. In these circumstances the local authority shares Parental Responsibility with the parents and those with Parental Responsibility, including special guardians. Parents do not lose their Parental Responsibility unless an Adoption Order is made.

Where a child is placed with prospective adopters, the prospective adopters acquire Parental Responsibility as soon as the placement is made. This will be shared with the birth parents and with the adoption agency making the placement.

The Adoption Panel may give advice on the exercise of Parental responsibility and the Adoption Placement Plan should set out how the exercise of Parental Responsibility by the birth parents and prospective adopters may be restricted.
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