Parental responsibility gives you the right to make and be involved in decisions about your child's care, including decisions as to medical treatment, education and religion. Although a child can only have two legal parents, there is no limit to how many people can share parental responsibility.
If you are your child's legal father (or a lesbian non-birth mother who is a legal parent at the time your child is conceived), you acquire parental responsibility by:
Step-parents (by marriage or civil partnership)
For these purposes, a step-parent is someone who is married to (or a civil partner of) a parent who has parental responsibility. If you are a married step-parent, you can acquire parental responsibility by:
If you are not legally a parent or step-parent, you can only acquire parental responsibility via a child arrangements order. This involves a court application, but should be straightforward if everyone is in agreement.
If relationships have broken down and you wish to acquire parental responsibility without the agreement of everyone involved, the law is more complex. Find out more about disputes about status in relation to children.