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Child Support Law and Parental Responsibility

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 3 Mar 2023 | comments*Discuss
Parental Responsibilities Law Child

Parental responsibility refers to the rights and privileges that unite the relationship between a parent and their child. This can also apply to any significant adult that plays an influential part in the child’s life.

EU Law And Parents

The European Union (EU) recognises the importance of Family Law and has rules on the jurisdiction of the enforcement of parental responsibility. This enforcement is recognised by uniform procedure that ensures the courts in the child’s resident state has the jurisdiction to rule on parental responsibility.

As part of the EU’s policies parental responsibility ensures the child has the right to maintain contact with both parents, regardless of where they live within the EU member states. The enforcement of access rights also seeks to prevent child abduction within the European Union.

Parental Responsibility In The UK

Under English law parents are responsible for upholding all the duties, powers, rights, authority and responsibilities in relation to their child. If the mother and father are married, at the time of the child’s birth, they share parental responsibility. However, if the parents are unmarried parental responsibility is given to the child’s mother, unless the child is the subject of an Adoption Order.

A civil partner can acquire parental responsibility, provided the other partner is in agreement with this arrangement. Parental responsibility must also be put in writing, in the case of a step-parent. A legal guardian may also be responsible along with someone who has a residence order stating that the child must live with them.

Parents And Child Support

Parental responsibility extends to providing a comfortable environment in which a child can be supported through childhood. Providing suitable shelter, clothing, food and educational items is also the parent’s duty.

In the case of families that are separated by divorce, legal separation or lone parents with absent fathers providing assistance, the form of a maintenance payment can help reduce the financial pressures of child-rearing.

Separated parents are legally duty bound to ensure their child, or children, are properly looked after. Parents with care, of the child, may experience difficulties in financially supporting the child on their own. Child support laws in the UK therefore obligate a non resident parent to pay a periodic amount of maintenance in order to provide financial assistance for the child in their home environment.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) and Child Maintenence Service (CMS) provides parents with care with a maintenance collection and distribution service that also assists with tracing absent parents.

In practice sharing parental responsibility means that adults must put the child’s interests first in any situation. A parental responsible person must do what is reasonable in any circumstance for the purpose of safeguarding the child’s welfare. This also means promoting and maintaining a safe, welcoming environment for the child to live in.

Shared Responsibilities

Sharing parental responsibilities requires that both parents consult on matters of importance that concern their child, regardless of their own relationship with each other. Understanding that the child’s welfare comes first is of paramount importance.

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I have signed paper work to give up parental responsibility for my son. Do I still have to pay child mentenance as I am no longer allowed any contact? Thanks
Marcus Adam walker - 3-Mar-23 @ 6:47 PM
Here is my problem I have a 7yr old daughter and my partner is getting csa every month with out fail I also have 50% pr for her if I give my pr up do I have to pay csa as she has a new partner and calling him dad plz can someone help me out with this situation before I go mad thanks bob
Bob - 26-Jan-23 @ 1:32 AM
A fathers name is not on the birth certificate, but he has been paying Child Support through the agency since birth. Does that legally give him PR as mother has verbally and written informed the agency of paternity.
Stage - 20-Nov-22 @ 1:14 PM
So I have my son 3 nights a week and pay maintenance. I want to have my son 50/50 but mother denies it so I have to pay the maintenance, I want my son 50/50 and to stop maintenance. I have parental responsibility as my name is on his birth cert. How do I agree this?
Lee41 - 31-Jul-22 @ 12:19 PM
I am 17, transgender and live with my mother and step father. I haven't spoken to my father in over 8 years, barring a phone call about a year ago where I told him I was transgender and he said I was too young to know what I want. I would like to change my name, but need written consent from "anyone with parental responsibility" meaning my mum and father. I know he won't consent to it, but I'm going to be starting work soon, and it's not easy having to explain the name change everytime. Is there something I could do so he isn't involved with me anymore? I don't want to wait anymore.
Sam - 5-Jul-22 @ 6:28 PM
I was in a civil partnership and we had two children by donor. It turns out one isn’t the donor and was conceived as a result of an affair. Can I keep parental responsibility (as on birth certificate) but the financial responsibility be put on the biological ‘legal parent’? (Farther). Or do I relinquish and ask for visitation rights
Engineer1 - 8-Jun-22 @ 10:54 AM
So here it goes, basically i was travelling from south of england to near manchester every month to see my daughter, nefore COVID-19, then they stopped all public transport, i then moved up north last year as my partner lives there, i then started seeing my daughter every 2 weeks on a saturday, but when summer holidays approached her mum wouldnt allow me to see my daughter because she was more concerned about having days out with her partner, then 8/9weeks ago i had an accident at work in which i fell down the stairs, and severely lacerated (tore) my hamstring and glutes, in which caused me problems to walk, and now its an on going injuriy, anyway i notified her that i couldnt see my daughter because of this, and shes stopped all contact so i cant see my child, shes constantly playing games like this to cause emotional distress, and now ive come to the decision as i dont want to be dealing with the emotional abuse, but would i still have to pay CSA if i gave up my parental responsibility??
Jerry - 13-Oct-21 @ 11:15 AM
So here it goes, basically i was travelling from south of england to near manchester every month to see my daughter, nefore COVID-19, then they stopped all public transport, i then moved up north last year as my partner lives there, i then started seeing my daughter every 2 weeks on a saturday, but when summer holidays approached her mm wouldve allow me to see her because she was morw concerned about having days out with her partner, then 8/9weeks ago i had an accident at work in which i fell down the stairs, and severely lacerated (tore) my hamstring and glutes, in which caused me problems to walk, and now its an on going injuriy, anyway i notified her that i couldnt see my daughter because of this, and shes stopped all contact so i cant see my child, shes constantly playing games like this to cause emotional distress, and now ive come to the decision as i dont want to be dealing with the emotional abuse, but would i still have to pay CSA if i gave up my parental responsibility??
Jerry - 13-Oct-21 @ 11:13 AM
Hi if my parental rights have bean revocked by the courts,do o still have to pay child maintenance. Regards
Ant - 8-Feb-21 @ 9:21 PM
This is my situation, My ex got pregnant with my child & I haven't seen my 5 year old daughter in 2 years but I still pay child maintenance. I ask to see her but my ex always says no because she doesn't want me in her life. Ive been taken to court multiple times in the past over missed CSA payments last time being 2 years ago, my daughter even calls my ex's current partner Dad.I can't contact her or even go to their house because threats are always being made about how she'll tell the police that I assaulted her. So to avoid all the stress on my behalf and just let them be since I don't play an active role in her life I was wondering if I gave up all my parental responsibilities does that mean I no longer have to pay child maintenance? I feel like I'm wasting good money on a child I can't even see or speak to. Help me before I make the first step.
JackMontee - 22-Jan-21 @ 7:39 AM
A court has put a loss of parental responsibility on mean do I have to still pay child maintenance
Pat - 25-Nov-20 @ 2:30 PM
If the dad was issued with injunction order due to violence 12 years ago and went back to his country of origin. Never paid any money for the child. Sent us ou treats in the email. Now i need his permission on the application to become British Citizen. What to do?
Katyachilly - 9-Nov-20 @ 6:41 PM
Hiya if a father loses parental rights but is still on the birth certificate and pays child maintenance with the help of cms will he no longer have to pay.once he loses his rights or because he is on the birth certificate does that mean he still needs to pay he is losing all his rights expect the right to contact he just needs to take me to court if he wants access to his daughter any advice would be much appreciated thanks
Fia123 - 22-Jul-20 @ 9:07 PM
If a father has his Parental Responsibilities terminated by the Courts does he still have to pay child maintenance even though he has no legal responsibility anymore?
Leo87 - 6-Apr-20 @ 3:32 PM
Hi my partner sees his children once a week they stay over and then go to school, his ex has asked that he sign over PR to her and get their surname changed to hers and break off contact with them as she thinks they’d be better off without him, if he does all that she said she will stop csa payments. Could you advise if he does this can she or csa still chase him for payments even tho he has no legal rights to his children after signing it over to the ex
Hayley - 21-Jan-20 @ 12:28 PM
Hello I have a complicated situation, my ex wife ran off in 2012 with her new partner and my daughter. Despite loads of court letters to her mother she still refuses to let me see my daughter. Eventually they moved and I have no idea where to. I have always paid child support even though she refused me access I paid this through csa. Anyway back in June 2019 my daughters mother passed away and my daughter now lives with her auntie (her mums sister) and is now chasing me for child support as the account with her mother was closed by the csa. Her auntie is demanding 40% of my earnings, I was in a well paid job until I was made redundant in July. I would prefer to pay my daughter direct as soon as I start working but her auntie is demanding it to be paid to her. I’m looking for any advice and help in this situation and it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
Lee - 16-Oct-19 @ 4:38 PM
Hi I am wanting to remove my ex partners parental responsibility.He has been absent from their lives for almost 3 years. He has a history of alcohol problems, and also domestic violence.He is not a fit parent,and after 10 years of being separated,he still continues to harass me, even police have been involved.Some advice would be greatly appreciated.
Ti - 22-Apr-19 @ 8:34 AM
Hi, I'm looking to see about removing my child's father's parental rights. Will this be possible to do at all? He has had 10 minutes contact at Christmas 2018 since October 2017 he has never paid for our child has given me constant abuse there was unreported domestic violence and abuse in our relationship our child suffers from crippling anxiety from thing she has witnessed at his and his partners home they constantly fight physically police have been involved on numerous occasions and I still have calls from social services and the police when there's an incident at their address even though my child no longer has contact I have been told they are doing some sort of steps order (unsure of what it's called) to assess if he should be allowed around children due to his violent and volatile behaviour will I be notified of this decision when it's made? If not will I have a good enough case to have his rights removed? Thanks
Leonie - 16-Apr-19 @ 1:30 AM
Hi this is a very complicated situation my wife of 11 years left the family home in 2018 taking my daughter but leaving my sons with me as she is not their biological mother. My question is that when she was given parental responsibility of the boys in beginning of 2009 by court order is she liable for maintenance payments for my sons as I am for my daughter, I know she is if she legally adopted them but I’m not sure how things stand with a parental responsibility order their biological mother has had no contact with them in 12 years and has made no maintenance payments in that time the only mother they know is my ex wife and they see she is no longer interested in them but surely after 11 years of parental responsibility she has an obligation to their welfare .
Del - 13-Mar-19 @ 11:18 AM
Hi, I have not used this page before but I hope to get some reply’s. My daughters bio dad lost his parental rights 5 years ago ( when she was 5) due to a court determining she was better without him! He has never bought her an item never mind paid child maintenance Is she entitled to anything back dated? What about the years he should have been paying. Is there a chance ( even a small one isn’t worth the risk) that he could appeal the courts again and ask for visitation ??
Sarah_R_2006 - 6-Mar-19 @ 12:33 PM
My ex is named on our 10 year old daughters birth certificate, he saw and paid regularly for her until around 3 years ago. He hasn't seen her in over a year and has contributed sporadically and minimally since. My daughter would like to change her surname to mine but my ex won't give permission for us to do this. I have said I am happy for him not contribute financially going forward if he'll just allow us to do this but he refuses. Does anyone know if I can change her name anyway given the circumstances?
Jem - 25-Feb-19 @ 10:31 AM
Hi I didn’t put my child’s fathers name on the birth certificate, as he did not want to be involved. He sends me constant abuse and has only seen her a handful of times since being born, she’s only 6 months old. I am worried he will go to court to try and get parental responsibility and continue to make my life hell. Can you advise as to whether it makes a difference how he has undermined and ‘bullied’ me throughout pregnancy and the first few months of her life (all of what I have evidence of in text messages) if the court will give him parental responsibility when he has proved unreliable so far and cruel?
Sante86 - 6-Nov-18 @ 9:22 PM
If my child's bio father has not been in her life from the start (turned out to be convicted child molester) and gives parental responsibility to my civil partner who's been in her life for 7 years.. Does the bio parent still have to pay child maintenance as maintenence is already court ordered
Debbie - 2-Nov-18 @ 9:09 PM
Hi. My daughter is 14 her dad as parental responsibility but he is not on her birth certificate, he can see his daughter when ever he wants but he never seems to ask to see her, it's always on my daughters terms, which she is happy about. It's time he played a responsible part in her life, can I claim csa?
Ajm - 29-Oct-18 @ 10:16 AM
My ex-wife took my daughters to live 350 miles away 8 years ago and I have only seen them twice since then despite numerous journeys to where they live.I continue to write every fortnight, send christmas and birthday presents to them as well as the odd 'missing you', 'good luck at new school' cards etc.I have received one thank you card in all that time. I receive their school reports and, up until now, have received their school pictures (my ex-wife never lets me know) as I always call the school every September.This year I called as usual and was told by the school that my daughters have said they don't want me to receive them anymore.I am devastated as this is my only way of seeing what they look like. Is there anything I can do and are they allowed to specify this (they are now 11 and 14)...?
Jonah - 16-Oct-18 @ 1:44 PM
Hi, I have recently got married, I have two children by a previous partner. The father is absent and uncontactable, I have absolutely no idea where he is and haven't since I broke up with him three years ago. He has had no contact with the children in that time, and in fact if he did try to have contact with them he would find it very difficult due to past abuse. Now I am married I would like my children to take my husband's name, I would like him to have parental responsibility, and ideally he would like to formally adopt them. I wasn't married to my children's father but he is on their birth certificates. In this situation does the biological father have parental responsibility, or can we change their names etc without him as he is uncontactable?
Lo - 3-Oct-18 @ 4:11 PM
Hi, my question is..if I have got someone pregnant on a night out, and they decided to keep the child even though I was against it. Would I still have to pay towards the child. Also how would it work if I'm unemployed as I am only a student
George - 27-Sep-18 @ 12:09 PM
Hi, I can't seem to find a direct answer for my very specific situation.I'm a non-UK citizen, unmarried, biological soon to be father.The mother IS a UK citizen and we have separated.She has agreed, if it's legally possible, to absolve me of any and all parental and financial obligation.Is it in fact possible, if so, how?
DSD - 18-Sep-18 @ 12:03 PM
Kate - Your Question:
Does a non biological father have to pay child maintenance? My ex had her daughter before we got together and we married a few year into relationship.not on birth certificate also no legal rights as no adoption or any kind of rights put into place

Our Response:
No, if you are the non-biological father you would not have to pay child maintenance. The biological father is responsible for this. However, if you divorce then an extra financial provision may be made towards your wife if you have brought your stepdaughter up from birth.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Sep-18 @ 10:56 AM
My daughter is 12 her father has never been apart of her life ever, now he has shown up out of the blue wanting access but she doesn’t want to go with him. What rights does he have? And can my daughter refuse to go with him?
Lilyj987 - 6-Sep-18 @ 9:14 PM
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