Parental Responsibilities and Rights (PRRs)
The Law in Scotland sets out the things that parents must do for their children (responsibilities) and the rights that parents have in relation to their children.
Scottish Law also dictates when a parent will have PRRs and who else, other than a parent, can be given them.
What are PRRs for?
As a parent, you have the responsibility to:
- Safeguard and promote your child's health, development and welfare
- Give your child direction and guidance suited to his or her stage of development
- Keep up your personal relationship and contact with your child – even if you do not normally live with him or her
- Act as your child's legal representative.
All this is insofar as this is practicable and in the best interests of the child.
Parents with these responsibilities also have related rights so that they can carry out their responsibilities.
For example, one parental responsibility is to provide a home for the child; a related right is to say where the child is going to live. When taking decisions about a child, parents should listen to the child's views, taking account of the child's age and maturity.
A person with PRRs for a child must also, when reaching a major decision about a child, listen to the views of anyone else with PRRs for the child.
Who has PRRs?
All mothers have these responsibilities and rights – only an order by a court can take any of them away.
A father also has these responsibilities and rights, but only if:
- He was married to the child's mother at the time of their child's conception or at any time after that
- He and the mother jointly registered their child's birth on or after 4 May 2006
- He has made and registered, together with the mother, a Parental Responsibilities and Parental Rights Agreement ( PRPRA)
- He has been given them by a court order.
In addition, where a woman has a child following assisted conception ( e.g. fertility treatment) she is treated as the mother and automatically has PRRs.
If the mother is married or in a civil partnership, her spouse or civil partner automatically has PRRs, unless it is shown that the spouse or civil partner didn't consent to the treatment.
In other cases, the father or the second female parent can obtain PRRs by jointly registering the birth or by registering a PRPRA (Parental Responsibilities and Parental Rights Agreement).
PRRs can also be granted by way of a court order. For example, another family member can ask the court for PRRs. A court can give PRRs to a couple who enter into a surrogacy arrangement. Where parents are unable to look after their child, the court may give PRRs to others, such as another family member, an adoptive parent, a foster carer or the local authority.
To request a hard copy of this publication, email YourParentingPlan@gov.scot