“Parental Responsibility” (“PR”) is a phrase used in the Children Act 1989 to refer to “the legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which a parent has over a child and his property”. The Children Act provides for the acquisition of PR by civil partners in the same way that step parents can gain PR after marriage. This can be either by agreement with the person who already has PR, or with the agreement of both the child’s parents if they both have PR. (there is a specific form that needs to be completed by both parties and by the court. This document then has to be registered at the Principal Registry). Alternatively, the step parent can apply to the court for PR. Again, it would be sensible to obtain detailed legal advice before embarking on any court action as if there is a dispute over PR it might be helpful to consider mediation as method to try and resolve the issue without the need for court proceedings.