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Would Liam Payne Have Parental Rights as an Unmarried Father?

By Principal Lawyer, Family Law

By now, you will have no doubt read the speculation around Cheryl’s pregnancy. If she is pregnant, what rights would Liam Payne have as an unmarried father, if any?

All mothers and most fathers have legal rights and responsibilities known as ‘parental responsibility’.

A person with parental responsibility has the right to obtain information about the child,such as medical and school updates, and to have a say in important aspects of their upbringing.

Such aspects might include decisions in respect of the child’s education, medical treatment, religious upbringing and their surname, for example. These decisions must be agreed between everyone who has parental responsibility. 

Mothers automatically have parental responsibility when a child is born. A father, in contrast to a mother, will only automatically acquire parental responsibility on birth if he is married to the mother.

How Unmarried Fathers Can Gain Parental Responsibility

An unmarried father can acquire parental responsibility when a child is born if:

  1.    He marries the mother subsequently

  2.    He is registered as the child’s father on the birth certificate

    To read more see our blog on Liam’s One Direction bandmate: Will Father-To-Be Louis Tomlinson of One Direction Fame Be Named on the Birth Certificate?

  3.    He has entered into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother which has been registered

  4.    He has obtained a Child Arrangements Order from the court naming him as the person with whom the child will live or spend time with and the court decides to make a Parental Responsibility Order in his favour

What Parental Rights Would Liam Payne Have?

If the rumours regarding Cheryl’s pregnancy are true, then Liam (being an unmarried father) would not have any rights in relation to the child unless named on the birth certificate. If he is not named then he would need to obtain parental responsibility by one of the methods set out above.

An individual other than a parent can also acquire Parental Responsibility by adopting a child, becoming a guardian or in certain circumstances by obtaining a Child Arrangements Order.

To learn more about parental responsibility see: Parental Responsibility and Parents’ Rights Discussed.

Slater and Gordon have the largest team of family lawyers in England and Wales. You can call us for an initial consultation on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will call you.

Rupi Rai is a family law solicitor in the Slater and Gordon London office.

Children Law

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