Removing Parental Responsibility

The family law solicitors at JMW can provide expert legal advice with regard the removal of parental responsibility or the changing of a surname. We are experts in this field and will provide pragmatic, no-nonsense advice to ensure all matters are sorted efficiently and satisfactorily.

Find out more about how the team can help you today by getting in touch. Doing so is easy; simply call us on 0800 652 5577 or complete our online enquiry form and we will call you back at a time convenient for you. 

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    Mrs B, Sheffield

About the Removal of Parental Responsibility

If a parent is unable or unwilling to act in the best interests of a child, it is sometimes necessary to seek to restrict the involvement they have with that child, together with their ability to make decisions in respect of the child's upbringing and/or to obtain certain information about the child that they would otherwise be entitled to.

The ability to exercise parental responsibility whether in respect of decision making, or obtaining information, can only be adjusted by the court.

There is no scope in law for the court to remove parental responsibility from a birth mother or a married father, unless their legal parenthood is ended by parental order or adoption order, but there are various orders that can be made to restrict them using it. 

Parental responsibility can be removed from other individuals who hold it, or it can likewise be restricted. It is only in extreme and rare circumstances that a court will outright remove parental responsibility from a parent and the court will consider very carefully what measures are proportionate to balance any risk the parent poses to their child, against the right to family life.

Orders that restrict the exercise in parental responsibility can also be made in conjunction with other protective orders, such as injunctions, where it is considered necessary to safeguard the child and protect their interests.

Change of Surname

As families evolve, it is common for a situation to arise whereby different members of the family have different surnames and for a time to come when everyone wants to be the same. There are two ways in which this can be done:

  • By completing a valid change of name deed
  • By order of the court (specific issue order)

There are strict rules regarding who can change a child's surname. If only one person has parental responsibility for a child, they can do so - unless the court prohibits it. Where more than one person holds parental responsibility, a change can only be effected by everyone who holds parental responsibility providing their consent, and in default of that consent, an order of the court.

Even if the second parent does not hold parental responsibility, they can make an application to the court for an order prohibiting any change by one parent with parental responsibility if they do not agree. If a change is made without the necessary permission - whether from the other parent or the court - the court can, and usually will, reverse the change and in some circumstances can impose costs orders in relation to the proceedings. It is therefore crucial to obtain legal advice beforehand.

The court considers a surname to be an integral part of a child's identity and will closely scrutinise any application for a change. There is clear guidance set out in case law regarding when the court will and will not consider it to be in the interests of a child for their surname to be changed, and this includes a careful consideration of how the child's bonds with all of the adults involved in his or her life can best be respected and maintained. As such, an application should never be made before all of these factors have been carefully considered and addressed, to determine the likely success of an application.

Why Choose JMW?

JMW takes a direct, pragmatic approach to ensure you get the right advice and the outcome you are after. We are highly approachable and will provide top-level support and assistance throughout all of your dealings with us.

We are highly experienced and can assist in even the most complex cases, helping to bring matters to a successful resolution.

Talk to Us

Contact our team today to find out more about how we can help with parental responsibility removal or the changing of a surname. Our approachable and friendly solicitors can answer any questions you may have and you can either call us on 0800 652 5577 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will call you back.  

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