Parental Responsibility – What it is and how to get it.

Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility is the term used to define a person’s responsibility and obligations towards a child. A person with Parental Responsibility can make decisions on behalf of a child such as determining the name that they will be known by, consenting to medical treatment as well as decisions as to how a child is to be educated.

Parental Responsibility can be held by one person or more than one person. Where Parental Responsibility is held by one person, that person has the sole right to make decisions regarding a child and can for example, lawfully change a child’s name, remove the child from England and Wales or appoint a guardian in their will which will take effect upon their death.

Where Parental Responsibility is held by more than one person, they will each hold it jointly and any significant decisions such as changing a child’s name or removing the child from England and Wales (even for a holiday) will have to be agreed by all.

A mother will automatically get Parental Responsibility when the child is born. Unfortunately, it is not so straight forward for a biological father but there are a number of ways in which he might acquire it.

Firstly, he might acquire it if he is married to the child’s mother at the time of the birth or subsequently. Secondly, if he and the mother are not married, he will automatically acquire it if he is named on the child’s birth certificate (for births registered after 1st December 2003). Thirdly, he and the mother can enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement and finally, an application can be made to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order.

There are also provisions for same sex parents to both acquire it where assisted reproduction has been used including a Parental Order when a surrogate has carried the baby.

People other than the parents can also acquire Parental Responsibility. A Step- Parent might get it by entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement, getting a Parental Responsibility Order or being named as a person the child lives with in a Child Arrangements Order.

Other people may get Parental Responsibility if they are named as a person the child lives with in a Child Arrangements Order, appointed as Special Guardians for the child or validly appointed as a child’s guardian in a parents will on their death or appointed by the court as a guardian following the parent’s death and of course, if they formally adopt the child.

Whether a father has Parental Responsibility or not does not however, mean that he can avoid responsibility for paying Child Maintenance and a lack of it does not impact upon the child’s inheritance rights. It is also the case that where a father does not have responsibility, although the mother may have the sole right to make decisions on behalf of the child, it is still subject to the fathers right to make an application to the court for a Section 8 Order if he does not agree with the decision made.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd our specialist family solicitors have assisted countless people in resolving issues concerning Parental Responsibility and the arrangements for children. We offer initial fixed fee appointments at prices from as little as £50 + vat. We have offices in Enfield, Hertford and Bishops Stortford and also offer telephone or Skype appointments if preferred.

For more information please call us on 01992 558411 or contact us here:




I think my ex is stalking me. What can I do?



Although often the subject of fictional dramas, domestic abuse and stalking are very real issues with figures showing that 11,889 stalking and harassment prosecutions were started in 2016/2017. The actual number of incidents is actually likely to be significantly higher as many incidents will not be reported. Whilst a stalker can be a stranger to you, it is far more likely to be someone you know with 71% of the prosecuted incidents being related to domestic abuse.

The breakdown of a relationship is a very difficult time. When a relationship comes to an end, people will generally go through a grieving process and the range of emotions that go with that. They may be angry or having trouble accepting that the relationship is over or want to try and control you and the decisions you make. The separation may also result in various other issues needing to be resolved such as finances or the arrangements for the children, which can further heighten the tension levels for all as the future becomes uncertain.

Stalking can be defined as persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered and harassed. It includes behaviour that happens two or more times, directed at or towards you by another person, which causes you to feel alarmed or distressed or to fear that violence might be used against you.

That attention can take many forms and can include things that might not seem obviously sinister such as;

  • sending flowers, letters, cards or presents
  • following you, turning up at your place of work or home uninvited
  • persistent phone calls or texts
  • contacting people who know you to get information about you,

It can also escalate and include more obviously concerning behaviour such as

  • manipulative behaviour such as threatening to commit suicide
  • telling lies about you to others to weaken your support network or undermine your employment.

There is also the risk that escalation can result in violence or threats of violence with damage to property and physical assaults which can and have historically resulted in murder.

If you think that you are being stalked then it is important to get help and we would most definitely recommend that you keep a diary as this will allow you to make a record of all incidents and is likely to be crucial evidence in helping to get it to stop.

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 introduced the crime of Harassment. This made it an offence to pursue a course of conduct causing alarm or distress or putting a person in fear of violence. In 2012 the Government changed the law, introducing two new offences covering stalking and providing further options to assist in prosecutions. These provisions allow the criminal courts to punish a person found guilty of an offence but also allow the criminal court to make a restraining order which can impose controls upon the accused for example preventing them from contacting the victim. Such an order can be made if the court considers it appropriate whether or not the person has been found guilty of the crime. More recently in a bid to further help victims of stalking the government have expressed an intention to introduce a new Stalking Protection Order which is intended to protect victims from unwanted attention and may be obtained without a prosecution for an offence unlike a restraining order. Furthermore, it has been announced that those committing offences will also be facing tougher sentences in future.

It is also possible to take action against someone in the civil courts even if they have not been convicted of an offence as an application can be made under the Protection from Harrassment Act 1997 for an injunction ordering the person harassing you to stop. In the event that the person harassing you is an “associated person” such as an ex partner then an application can be made to the court for a non molestation order under the Family Law Act 1996 which is an order which forbids your ex partner from using or threatening violence, harassment, intimidation or pestering you.

In the event that the ex partner fails to stop then they will be committing a criminal offence and can be sent to prison.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd, our experienced team of family solicitors have significant experience in dealing with problems involving stalking, harassment and domestic abuse. Karen Johnson, our joint head of department is an accredited domestic abuse specialist with over 15 years experience in helping male and female clients who had or were suffering domestic abuse and harassment including victims of rape, psychological and physical abuse, controlling and manipulative behaviour. With her help, those people were able to end the abuse, protect themselves from further incidents and ensure outcomes with regards to children or finances that allowed them to move forward with their lives in safety.

Our qualified solicitors are able to offer appointments at our offices in Bishops Stortford, Enfield and Hertford as well as appointments via telephone or skype from as little as £50 + vat. For more information call us on 01992 558411. Or contact us here:

Company Sale

Directors and Associates Loan Account in M&A transactions

Company Sale

“So you want to pay more tax than you ought when you sell shares in a company?” If the answer to this question is "NO!" then this article is essential reading.

Problems can arise in one of two situations:

If you have a group company or a number of companies in common ownership it is possible that you have inter group loan accounts on the balance sheets of some or all of these companies. It is essential in those circumstances that you have deal with them prior to sale.

You may have purchased the shares in the company with a completion payment that is split into two parts, part purchase price and part introduction of a loan amount. This often occurs where the original seller had introduced loan capital into the company to develop the business or to expand it but did not do so by the creation and acquisition of additional shares. This would mean that the purchase price element would be the starting point for the calculation of Capital Gains Tax on sale.

Why is there a problem?

Section 455 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010 provides for a 25% tax charge where a loan is created in favour of a participator or an associate of a participator that is not at arms-length. In a sale if the loan is not dealt with appropriately it is likely that the loan itself will be a breach of warranty if not fully and fairly disclosed. Furthermore, the writing down of the loan at completion would create the 25% tax charge on the company and have to be borne by the buyer. In addition, the structure of the purchase price as the full completion payment might not be tax efficient. For instance if you don’t consider the loans at sale having done so at purchase the full amount of the loan capital that you introduced would be subject to Capital Gains Tax as it would not have formed part of the original purchase price meaning that the starting point from which CGT liability will be calculated will be lower. It is essential that careful consideration is given in these circumstances to how to deal with the inter group loans as part of the completion process.

So what should you do now?

If you are thinking of selling a business and you think this is relevant we recommend that you contact our Brendan O’Brien to discuss your options. We work with a number of accountants who will be able to assist you in determining the appropriate method to use to complete the transaction in a tax efficient manner. Contact us here: