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What Are The Legal Rights of a Father?

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 21 Jan 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Divorce Rights Fathers Custody Legal

As a general rule the mother will always have what is referred to as ‘parental responsibility’ for her children regardless of the father’s presence or absence. This is something that many think needs to be addressed by the government and legal institutions of the United Kingdom.

What are My Rights as a Father?

You have rights as the father of your child if:
  • If the child was born on or after December 1st 2003 and you are named on the Birth Certificate as the child’s birth father
  • If a Parental Responsibility Agreement is signed
  • If the birth certificate for the child held no father’s name but was later renewed to show yours
  • If a Magistrate or Justice of the Peace (JP) at the Family Court has granted you parental responsibility or an Order Of Residency

I Want to Enter Into a Parental Responsibility Agreement (PR) – Is This A Good Idea?

If you want to have a say in your child’s upbringing, then yes, it is a good idea. It is unfortunate that sometimes relations between both parents become so strained that the children will become the unfortunate tools that parents use to hurt each other.

If both parents can enter into such a PR agreement, it should ensure that both parties have a say in how their child are brought up. This does not necessarily cover the day-to-day living arrangements but it certainly includes larger concerns, such as what school their child should go to, the medical treatment they receive, what religion they should be taught, etc.

In some cases, the parents’ split is an amicable one and there will be no need for such an agreement. But often it is a necessity if a relationship has turned sour and neither party can agree without the intervention of the courts.

Financial Responsibilities

You have a financial obligation to help provide for your child’s upkeep. If a relationship breaks down, you have to expect that you will be required by law to pay something towards caring for your child and providing them with what they need.

This can be done by mutual consent between both parents – and if this is agreed upon it is important to have something written down so that all parties know exactly where they stand. If no agreement is made, or if you simply prefer it, Child Maintenance can be handled through the Child Support Agency.

The Child Support Agency requires that you pay 15% of your net income towards your child’s care and this increases to 20% cent for two children, 25% for three children and so on.

Visiting My Child

If you are named on the birth certificate as the father of the child, you have a legal right to see your children. This is sometimes tested to the limit if parents split under less than agreeable circumstances, and it can ultimately mean the involvement of the courts and family services to help mediate towards agreeable visiting rights for the father.

If you are in any of the above situations and feel you need advice, it is wise to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or your local family services court for more information and support. It should be noted, however, that it is best – where possible – to try to resolve any issues between both parents with resorting to courts and solicitors as this can be as traumatic for the child as it can be for the parents. Read up about parental responsibility.

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My partner had a very very short relationship with a woman 3 years ago she was also seeing other men. She fell pregant and told my partner. He told her that he did not want any more children and asked her to think about his feelings in the process. There was a large age gap also.She reappreared on the scene with a child. They have subsequently done a DNA test and the child is my partners. He is slowly processing the deceit around the whole story but after the woman in question wanted my partner to be part of the child's life she is now denying him access now that the cma is involved. Can you advise what his rights are - he is not on the birth certificate either. Many thanks for your help.
Bon - 21-Jan-18 @ 6:24 PM
My ex is in the country on a parental visa. He moved from top of Scotland to somewhere in England when our child turned 3 since then he used to visit once every 4 months and has not seen her now for a over a year no calls nothing.He only ever sent 40 a month and she is now 7. He clearly lying to immigration saying he has regular contact. My child is so upset and confused and doesn’t need this. Is there a way I can tell immigration the truth? It may make him wake up!!
Emzi - 20-Jan-18 @ 7:09 PM
My son isn't on the Birth Certificate and his ex has now remarried and has another child. They have a 4 year old child who she will not let my son see - he hasn't seen him now for over 3 years.They had a fairly up and down relationship when they were together and my son wasn't perfect by any means but he was a good dad. He was still a child himself at 18. When my son was told to move out the new man moved in so she had a ready made family. She made my grandchild call him dad from the outset. She refused to put him on the certificate so she could claim benefits as a "single mother" which I was furious about when I found out. I have regular contact with my grandchild however she insists on him taking her to Court, which he can't afford. She always wants to control him even now. My son pays maintenance every week for the child. I don't know what I can do. It all seems so unnecessary. As my grandchild is now 4 they can speak and apparently Mum calls my son his old dad or his old bad dad which I find really upsetting. I'm worried about confronting her too much or she'll stop me seeing him too. I feel she has us all dancing to her tune and the most important person in all of this is missing out on seeing his daddy. If anyone can offer some advice I would really appreciate it. Thank you.
Apolonia - 20-Jan-18 @ 3:22 PM
My wife is pregnant and hiding from me up to week 12. Then I shocked. I really don't want baby and clearly told her if she wants keep the baby should accept all responsibility as she is Noway gonna abort pregnancy. My question is what I can do to get rid of this situation. She keep saying that will claim through child maintenance then my obligation is to pay for baby. Could you give me some advice please? Thank you
Ali - 19-Jan-18 @ 11:55 PM
I had a very brief relationship with someone and it was ended before i found out i was pregnant. My son is 8 months old father is not named on birth cirt but we havr a dna to prove he is dad and payments for maintinance is going through cms. He visitis his son once or twice a month. My question is xan he stop me moving away ie scotland from uk? What are my rights as a mother
Niknoo - 18-Jan-18 @ 2:03 PM
Hi my daughters biological father hasn't seen her for five years he pays csa, before Christmas I had a letter from solicitor stating he wanted DNA after this long I agreed, last week I received a letter from him basically saying he's not gna pay for a child he dosent see and wants me to agree stop taking money from him his words. Or let him see her I never stopped him he Just didn't bother. He has a history with his first born he wasn't allowed to see him decided by a court because of his abusive relationship with his ex and he hit and emotionally abused the child. He's threatening me with a court to see her unless I say I don't want his money. I mean concerned about her seeing him he lied in out short relationship and was an alcoholic and verbally abusive. He has another son a year younger than my daughter that he doesnt see either. Will the court consider his past?
Rach - 18-Jan-18 @ 9:01 AM
Doozie - Your Question:
Hi my ex won’t let me have contact with my son I am named as the father on the birth certificate but she has since told me I am not the father n her now partner is the father? We live in the UK but don’t live in the same city. If they’ve done dna tests to prove her partner is the father would I of been told about a change on the birth certificate and if in fact their lying and il still on the birth certificate what rights do I have to see my son ? Advice would be appreciated thanks

Our Response:
If DNA tests have been done and the name of the father has been changed on the birth certificate, this must have been done by court order. So you will be able to check the records via the court system. You can also order copies of birth records from any date 6 months prior tothe current date from the General Register Office . It sounds like they are bluffing on this. If you are not allowed contact, you can apply to the courts (you will be asked to attend mediation first), if the mother then states you are not the bioligical father, the courts may order DNA tests to ascertain whether this is the case or not.
LawAndParents - 17-Jan-18 @ 10:56 AM
Mr_vlad - Your Question:
Hi.I have separated 2 years ago. My son ( my name in birth certificate) stays with my ex ,in house in which we have joint mortgage. I left the home because she brought new partner. Now she broke with new partner and left her job and stop mortgage repayments. House will be repositioned in this month, and she plan to leave the country with my son. She is drinking allot and using drugs, I'm taking my son every weekend and noticed that he is changed (long nails,dirty) and scared. Recently she went out with old friends they told me what she was saying. She left child alone and goes for shopping, talk's with him using swearing words. When her friends told her that he will repeat after her she said lath he dare and I will punch him.My son is almost 4 and we are living in Scotland, she never put him in nursery.I'm desperate, what to do.

Our Response:
You could try and seek a residence order via the courts if the mother will not agree to this - you could seek specific help and advice from your local CAB. It might also be worth talking to social services if you are very worried about your son's development and environment.
LawAndParents - 17-Jan-18 @ 10:10 AM
DTB95 - Your Question:
So my current situation is me and my ex have split. She is currently pregnant with my first child and due in march 2018. But with no communication currently between-us other than being told by her mum over a month ago that I will be told when the baby is born. I have sent texts every couple of weeks asking if her and baby are both ok and still no reply. I feel I will be denied access to my baby when he is born and not put on the birth certificate. I understand I can be put on at a later date if I take the correct legal steps and have also been told I could also be granted access. I am willing to take all these steps as I would very much like to be a part of my baby's life like a dad should from the start be but wondering if I could be given a bit more advice. is there anything legally I can do before hes born. I am hesitant to leaving it until my baby is born as I understand this could take weeks or even months forcing me to miss out on some of the first most important months of his life.any advice is greatly appreciated thanks in advance DTB95

Our Response:
There isn't much you can do before the baby is born unfortunately no.
LawAndParents - 16-Jan-18 @ 3:28 PM
Lilou - Your Question:
My ex husband and I have a PSO in place stopping both of us from taking our children outside the UK. I recently took our children to Wales and he then made a request to take the children to Spain saying it was like for like which it's not. Wales is in the U.K.! Due to his previous attempt at taking the children out of the country for good, I refused. He is now taking me to court and saying that my refusal to consent is unreasonable. What reasons should I give the judge for my refusal? I am genuinely afraid that he will take them away. The only proof I have is correspondence from the Chilean embassy (he is Chilean) when I flagged this up with them at the time. They had put a block on the children's visa stopping him from taking them out of the UK. Please help me? My case is on the 16th of January! Thank you.

Our Response:
If you genuinely fear that your husband will not bring the children back, you should explain these in the court...and no, Wales would not be considered the same as Spain.
LawAndParents - 16-Jan-18 @ 10:28 AM
Ana - Your Question:
Hi , I have a baby with 17 months, due an expensive nurseries we decided I would stay at home so I could take care of our son. Today he asked to leave the house , so I'm asking can he take our son from me or can I ask for help to the council for house situation and others expensives a until I get a job ? I'm lost and alone , would you please answer me. Thank you

Our Response:
Sorry we're not sure of your circumstances or your question. You can find your local Citizens Advice Bureau here
LawAndParents - 15-Jan-18 @ 2:44 PM
Hi my ex won’t let me have contact with my son I am named as the father on the birth certificate but she has since told me I am not the father n her now partner is the father? We live in the UK but don’t live in the same city. If they’ve done dna tests to prove her partner is the father would I of been told about a change on the birth certificate and if in fact their lying and il still on the birth certificate what rights do I have to see my son ? Advice would be appreciated thanks
Doozie - 14-Jan-18 @ 6:56 PM
Hi. I have separated 2 years ago. My son ( my name in birth certificate) stays with my ex ,in house in which we have joint mortgage. I left the home because she brought new partner. Now she broke with new partner and left her job and stop mortgage repayments. House will be repositioned in this month, and she plan to leave the country with my son. She is drinking allot and using drugs,I'm taking my son every weekend and noticed that he is changed (long nails,dirty) and scared. Recently she went out with old friends they told me what she was saying. She left child alone and goes for shopping, talk's with him using swearing words. When her friends told her that he will repeat after her she said lath he dare and I will punch him. My son is almost 4 and we are living in Scotland, she never put him in nursery. I'm desperate, what to do.
Mr_vlad - 14-Jan-18 @ 5:03 PM
so my current situation is me and my ex have split. She is currently pregnant with my first child and due in march 2018. But with no communication currently between-us other than being told by her mum over a month ago that i will be told when the baby is born. I have sent texts every couple of weeks asking if her and baby are both ok and still no reply. I feel i will be denied access to my baby when he is born and not put on the birth certificate. i understand i can be put on at a later date if i take the correct legal steps and have also been told i could also be granted access. i am willing to take all these steps as i would very much like to be a part of my baby's life like a dad should from the start be but wondering if i could be given a bit more advice. is there anything legally i can do before hes born. i am hesitant to leaving it until my baby is born as i understand this could take weeks or even months forcing me to miss out on some of the first most important months of his life. any advice is greatly appreciated thanks in advance DTB95
DTB95 - 14-Jan-18 @ 12:57 AM
My ex husband and I have a PSO in place stopping both of us from taking our children outside the UK. I recently took our children to Wales and he then made a request to take the children to Spain saying it was like for like which it's not. Wales is in the U.K.! Due to his previous attempt at taking the children out of the country for good, I refused. He is now taking me to court and saying that my refusal to consent is unreasonable. What reasons should I give the judge for my refusal? I am genuinely afraid that he will take them away. The only proof I have is correspondence from the Chilean embassy (he is Chilean) when I flagged this up with them at the time. They had put a block on the children's visa stopping him from taking them out of the UK. Please help me? My case is on the 16th of January! Thank you.
Lilou - 13-Jan-18 @ 8:39 AM
Hi , I have a baby with 17 months, due an expensive nurseries we decided I would stay at home so I could take care of our son . Today he asked to leave the house , so I'm asking can he take our son from meor can I ask for help to the council for house situation and others expensives a until I get a job ? I'm lost and alone , would you please answer me . Thank you
Ana - 12-Jan-18 @ 4:56 PM
pmw - Your Question:
My ex didn't put me on my daughters birth certificate. I can't afford solicitors fees and she won't let me see my daughter. what can I do to get access

Our Response:
You could try mediation if your ex will agree. A court order may be a last resort if you have cannot get her to agree...you can do this without a solicitor - there is a lot of information on the Internet to help with this.
LawAndParents - 12-Jan-18 @ 2:13 PM
My ex didn't put me on my daughters birth certificate. I can't afford solicitors fees and she won't let me see my daughter . what can I do to get access
pmw - 10-Jan-18 @ 7:39 PM
Shiz - Your Question:
My son is eleven months old now.And I have been leaving with his dad for two years now though not legaly married and we are different Nationality.ending of this month we will be visiting his country for the first time.my worry is what if we go and then he tries to take my child and send me back to my country?Does he have the right even if he is my son's Dad and do I have any right if I wish to go back with my son?

Our Response:
We don't know what the rules are in the country where you're living at present so it's difficult for us to comment really.
LawAndParents - 10-Jan-18 @ 12:01 PM
sheilla - Your Question:
Hi.I have a baby 1 year and 9 months with a man who doesnt help me with anything,he doesnt respect me and he slapped me couple of times,and I called the police aswell.We live together but I would like to leave him but he doesnt let me go with the baby,he wants the baby to stay with him,but I can’t accept that.If I just leave with the baby without telling him,I could me in trouble???we are not married but the baby has his name!!!Please I need your advice

Our Response:
If you do not feel safe then please leave with your baby. Your local council will be able to give you some information about places you can go to for accommodation.
LawAndParents - 10-Jan-18 @ 11:48 AM
My son is eleven months old now.And i have been leaving with his dad for two years now though not legaly married and we are different Nationality.ending of this month we will be visiting his country for the first time.my worry is what if we go and then he tries to take my child and send me back to my country?Does he have the right even if he is my son's Dad and do i have any right if i wish to go back with my son?
Shiz - 7-Jan-18 @ 5:59 PM
Hi.I have a baby 1 year and 9 months with a man who doesnt help me with anything,he doesnt respect me and he slapped me couple of times,and I called the police aswell.We live together but I would like to leave him but he doesnt let me go with the baby,he wants the baby to stay with him,but I can’t accept that...If i just leave with the baby without telling him,I could me in trouble???we are not married but the baby has his name!!!Please I need your advice
sheilla - 7-Jan-18 @ 4:43 PM
My partner and I have split after 17 years due to her daughter my step daughter accusing myself of historical sex abuse I was arrested and then all charges were dropped due to no evidence to substantiate the accusation I am now starting to encounter problems with ex dictating how and when and how much time I can see the children but so far it has been fine and regular myself seeing children but my partner is now starting to get very awkward and non responsive in allowing more visitation rights and time to see children Given above circumstances what is the best path to get a binding contract to see my children
Dan - 6-Jan-18 @ 9:08 PM
Am I allowed to bring my son back to my house without my ex girlfriends permission?
NEILY - 6-Jan-18 @ 3:29 PM
Kev12 - Your Question:
My ex's partner is always on drugs (cocain)near my daughter I'm at a loss what to do. Ex just thinks I'm causing problems but I know it only takes a second to loose it and lash out or to put the stuff down and my daughter finds it I'm worried scared for her but feels like a can't do anything any help would be appreciated thanks

Our Response:
If you are concerned for your child's safety, you could consider applying for an Prohibted Steps Order, preventing the father from being present while your child is there. The courts will order an investigation into the circumstances and will only grant the PSO if there is a genuine risk.
LawAndParents - 5-Jan-18 @ 11:41 AM
Abby - Your Question:
My baby girl lives with me.Her father is a alcoholic.When living with him before I had my baby there was domestic violence.I left him n got a flat of my own for me n my baby.He now thinks he should be aloud to see my baby on his own.I'm worried he will try push at this how do I stop him Taking things legally further to try see his child on his own with out my supervison.Also how do I put in place so Ifar anything happen to me my daughter goes to my mum n step dad not my daughter farther.Many thanks x

Our Response:
You can't stop the father applying to the courts for contact. If he does so and you are concerned that you daughter would be at risk from such contact, the courts will order an investigation into the circumstances and might then order supervised contact etc. If anything were to happen to you, and you have a court order in place for full residency then you can specify a "guardianship appointment in your will". Other than that, you can only state your wishes in Will andthe courts will decide who the child can live with after investigating the suitability of the father.
LawAndParents - 5-Jan-18 @ 11:37 AM
My ex's partner is always on drugs (cocain)near my daughter I'm at a loss what to do. Ex just thinks I'm causing problems but I know it only takes a second to loose it and lash out or to put the stuff down and my daughter finds it I'm worried scared for her but feels like a can't do anything any help would be appreciated thanks
Kev12 - 2-Jan-18 @ 9:53 PM
My baby girl lives with me. Her father is a alcoholic. When living with him before I had my baby there was domestic violence. I left him n got a flat of my own for me n my baby. He now thinks he should be aloud to see my baby on his own. I'm worried he will try push at this how do I stop him Taking things legally further to try see his child on his own with out my supervison. Also how do I put in place so Ifar anything happen to me my daughter goes to my mum n step dad not my daughter farther. Many thanks x
Abby - 2-Jan-18 @ 9:01 PM
T90d - Your Question:
I have a 3 year old son, To a mother of 4 boys. In the last year and a half of us being together she stayed out drinking til 8am at the latest and 4am at the earliest taking cocaine also this was 3/4 Times a week with the days she didn’t go out spent in bed nursing a hangover. Whilst I looked after all 4 children and couldn’t go to work due to her poor decisions leaving me to mind the children in the day time.I have been there since a year before my son was born and brought her youngest up, I set up a new house for us to move into and the next day I was kicked out. I am still sofa surfing as of 11 months ago due to move into a house in the next two weeks. She has a new boyfriend who both take cocaine together and my son comes to me in second hand clothes all torn up and dirty sometimes with smelling of wee. I would like fully custody of my child and was wondering on how to go about it?

Our Response:
If the mother won't simply agree to it, you could apply for court order. You will need to give your reasons for want full residency...remember to give reasons based on what you consider to be in the best interests of your son. The court form you need to apply for this is C100.
LawAndParents - 2-Jan-18 @ 3:24 PM
Father-to-be - Your Question:
My wife and I are currently separated and she is unwilling to speak with me. I was present at the 12-week scan but I have not been informed about the 20week scan which is now looming. I really wanted to go and find out the sex of the child. Is this opportunity not afforded to me as the father of the child? studies have shown that father bond better when they know the gender of the child so would this be considered a form of parental alienation? I feel so disconnected from the process based on her unwillingness to grant me the opportunities.

Our Response:
There are not really any laws/rights relating to this until the child is actually born unfortunately.
LawAndParents - 2-Jan-18 @ 11:46 AM
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