What Is A Declaration of Parentage?

emily gordon brown
Emily Gordon BrownLegal Assessment Specialist @ Lawhive
Updated on 29th January 2024

Family relationships can be complex, and there are times when clarification is needed around parentage.

A Declaration of Parentage is a legal declaration by the court in the UK that states whether a person is the legal or biological parent of another person.

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In this article, we will explain:

  • What a Declaration of Parentage is;

  • How it works;

  • Why it may be necessary for parents in the UK.

We will also discuss the legal procedures, costs, and the impact it has on parental responsibility.

What is a Declaration of Parentage?

A declaration of parentage from the English Court is a legal document that says whether someone is officially a parent of another person in the eyes of English law.

What is a Declaration of Non-Parentage?

A Declaration of Non-Parentage is a legal document used to legally establish that someone is not the parent of a child.

This can be a complicated and sensitive matter, but it ensures that the legal rights and responsibilities of parenthood are accurately assigned.

In cases where there's a dispute or confusion about whether someone should legally be considered a child's parent, this declaration helps provide clarity. It ensures that someone doesn't have to carry the legal responsibilities of parenthood if they shouldn't.

For instance, if there's a disagreement over who the real parent of a child is, the court can use a Declaration of Non-Parentage to officially declare that one person is not the parent.

What can a Declaration of Parentage be used for?

A declaration of parentage says whether someone is the legal or biological parent of another person under English law.

The primary reason someone might apply for a declaration of parentage is to update a birth certificate in order to:

  • Add or remove a father’s name;

  • Get citizenship by descent in a certain country;

  • Add the names of biological parents (in the case of adoption);

  • Clarify who is responsible for financial provision for a child.

The motivations for seeking a declaration of parentage might not be related to the law at all, but rather to help individuals understand who they are, where they come from and their heritage. For some, knowing their parentage can be an important way from them to fully understand their life story.

How do you apply for a Declaration of Parentage?

To get a declaration of parentage, you need to ask the court to determine someone’s parentage by filling in and submitting Form C63.

In this form, you will have to give a summary of why you think your application is necessary and include a copy of the birth certificate of the person whose parentage is in question.

You can do all of this on your own, or with the help of a solicitor who specialises in family law.

There is no time limit for an application for a Declaration of Parentage and they can be made in respect of children or adults.

If the person in question is still a child, the court can refuse the application if it does not consider this to be in the best interests of the child.

The court will make a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented. This decision will be recorded in the Declaration of Parentage.

It is worth noting that another party can oppose an application for a declaration of parentage. If this is the case, the process can become more complex and it is wise to contact a solicitor for advice in these situations.

How much does a Declaration of Parentage Cost?

The court fee for a declaration of parentage is currently £365. You pay this when you make your application to the court.

This is the minimum amount you will pay for a declaration of parentage and doesn’t take into account other things like legal costs and/or solicitors fees.

Does a Declaration of Parentage give you Parental Responsibility?

declaration-of-parentage-and-parental-responsibility

No, a declaration of parentage does not give you parental responsibility.

Should a parent who has recently got a declaration of parentage through the court wish to get parental responsibility too, they must either apply for a Parental Responsibility order to the court or draw up a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the child’s mother.

What is the difference between a Declaration of Parentage and a Parental Responsibility Order?

While both are related to parental rights and responsibilities, they serve different purposes.

Declaration of Parentage

This legal document establishes or disestablishes the legal parent-child relationship. It clarifies who the legal parents are.

Parental Responsibility Order

This order is used to assign parental responsibility to individuals who may not be the biological parents but have a significant role in a child's life, such as step-parents or grandparents.

A person with parental responsibility has the right to make decisions about the child and their life.

Why apply for a Declaration of Parentage?

Applying for a Declaration of Parentage is necessary in various situations:

  • Surrogacy: In cases of surrogacy, it is crucial to establish the legal parent-child relationship, ensuring that the intended parents are recognised as the child's legal parents.

  • Adoption: When a child is adopted, a Declaration of Parentage is often required to legally recognise the adoptive parents as the child's legal parents.

  • Disputes: In situations where there is a dispute or uncertainty about parentage, a Declaration of Parentage can bring clarity to the situation.

  • Inheritance: It ensures that a child has the legal right to inherit from their parents.

Do all Parentage disputes have to go to court?

Not all parentage disputes have to go to court. In fact, many parentage disputes are resolved through negotiation, family mediation or people could decide to undergo private DNA testing, which may settle their minds.

However, if the dispute cannot be resolved amicably, or if it involves complex legal issues, it may be necessary to go to court to obtain a Declaration of Parentage.

What are the impacts of a Declaration of Parentage?

The impact of a Declaration of Parentage can be significant. Once a Declaration of Parentage is made, the child will have the benefit of knowing their legal status is accurately recorded by law.

It can contribute to the child being clear as to their identity and in understanding their medical and genetic history.

Here are some key impacts:

It legally recognises the parent-child relationship, ensuring the child's rights and the parent's responsibilities, like child maintenance, are acknowledged.

declaration-of-parentage-legal-help

At Lawhive, our team of expert family law solicitors are on hand to help you apply for a declaration of parentage or provide advice about ongoing parentage disputes. To get started, tell us about your case and we’ll assign the very best solicitor in our team to your case.

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