If your child was born on or after 2 December 2016
If the unmarried father is registered as the child's father at the time of the child's birth (named on the birth certificate), the father will automatically have parental responsibility for his child.
If the unmarried father is not registered as the child's father at the time of the child's birth, the father will only have parental responsibility for his child by:
- applying to the court for an order stating that he has parental responsibility for his child
- entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the child's mother
- requesting that the registrar of the parish in which the child was born, re-registers the child's birth and enters the father's name. This option will involve the cooperation of the child's mother in making the request to the registrar
If your child was born before 2 December 2016
For births registered before 2 December 2016, an unmarried father will not have automatically parental responsibility for his child. In order to acquire parental responsibility, an unmarried father must enter into a parental responsibility agreement with the child's mother or apply to the court for a parental responsibility order.
Getting parental responsibility if your child was born and registered before 2 December 2016
Parents will need to register a Parental Responsibility Agreement. This a legal document in which a child's mother and father agree that the father will have parental responsibility in addition to the mother.
It must be drawn up and signed on a special Parental Responsibility Agreement Form, which can be obtained from the Judicial Greffe or downloaded and printed below.
Before entering into an agreement it is recommended to seek legal advice about what it will mean for both of the child's parents.
Unmarried fathers may also apply for a Court Order to be granted parental responsibility.
Parental Responsibility Agreement Form
Court Order granted responsibility information
About parental responsibility
Parental responsibility is about making decisions which affect a child's welfare. A person with parental responsibility for a child will have certain:
- powers and authority
What parental responsibility covers
Factors of parental responsibility include:
- where the child should live
- the child's education
- applying for a passport
- significant movement of the child such as:
- leaving the country for a holiday
- leaving the jurisdiction (emigrating)
- the child's name (including changes to name by Deed Poll)
- protecting the child
- the child's religious upbringing
- consent to the child's medical treatment
- consent to freeing the child for adoption
- looking after the child's property (eg inheritance)
- the child's burial or cremation
People who can also have parental responsibility for a child
The mother of the child will automatically have parental responsibility for her child.
If the father was married to the mother of the child at the time of the child's birth and registered as the father, he will also have parental responsibility for his child.
Someone else can have parental responsibility for a child if either:
- a custody order or a residence order has been made in their favour
- they have responsibility for the child under an emergency protection order
- they are a guardian of the child
- they have adopted the child
Parents who are in a same-sex relationship
Changes to the law around parental responsibility for unmarried fathers relate only to fathers who are the stated biological father of the child. The amendments do not cover parents who are in a same-sex relationship.
However, changes to the law regarding parents in a same-sex relationship will be progressed alongside same-sex marriage legislation. This is due be introduced towards the end of 2017.
How to find out more
Children and adoption law on the Jersey Law website
Registering your child's birth
Family Division (family court proceedings)