New parental rights for fathers introduced

On 1 December 2003 section 111 of the Adoption and Children Act
2002 was brought into force.

This amends section 4 of the Children Act 1989 to add that a
father acquires parental responsibility if he becomes registered as
the child’s father under any specified enactments.

This could be by registration as the child’s father under
section 10 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 (or
re-registration under section 10A), in addition to a parental
responsibility order or agreement under section 4 of the Children
Act 1989.

Prior to that date registration under section 10 or 10A would
only have identified him as the father and not given him parental

The immediate effect is that such a father is entitled to be
joined automatically as a party to care proceedings (see the Family
Proceedings Rules 1991, Appendix 3) and to adoption proceedings
(see the Adoption Rules 1984, rules 4 and 15). He would also be
entitled to remove a child from accommodation in accordance with
section 20(8) of the 1989 act.

It is considered that the provision is not retrospective and
applies only to children born since 1 December 2003.

Richard White
White and Sherwin Solicitors

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