Families now come in all shapes and sizes, and children may live with parents who are cohabiting, married, separated or divorced. They may be part of a step-family, live with adoptive parents, grandparents, other relatives or a special guardian.
If you have spent many years living with and developing a close bond with a child, you may be concerned that your ‘parental’ status is not formally recognised and you may worry that you could be excluded from key decisions in the future.
Robert Bellhouse, family law expert at Ware & Kay Solicitors in York & Wetherby explains that parental responsibility is a legal concept defined by the Children Act. ‘It determines all the rights, duties, powers and responsibilities and authority that a parent of a child has in relation to the child and their property.’