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In the UK, parental responsibility is not automatically lost if parents are absent from their child’s life. In fact, you don’t lose rights as a parent just from being absent. Parental responsibility refers to parents' legal rights, duties, powers, and responsibilities for their children. Mothers automatically have parental responsibility and fathers have parental responsibility if they are named on the birth certificate or married to the mother at the time of birth.

Parental responsibility can be terminated or removed in the following ways:

Adoption or surrogacy: If a child is adopted, the biological parent’s parental responsibility is generally terminated, except in specific cases such as step-parent adoption. If a parental order is made in respect of a surrogate child, the mother’s rights are lost. 

Court order: A court can remove parental responsibility if it is in the child’s best interests. It may happen if a parent poses a risk to the child's welfare or if it is necessary for the child's protection.

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