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What Are The Legal Rights of a Father?

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 16 Jan 2020 | 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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I bring my two children up who are 8 years and 9 years wham I entitled to claim has I work ??
Scotty - 16-Jan-20 @ 2:50 PM
Hi can you advise me if fathe is not on birth certificate can child maintenance still be accessed also can the maternal family inform the paternal grand mother she has a grand child even if the father doesn’t want this inform disclosed Thankyou
Berry - 16-Jan-20 @ 2:14 PM
If a father isn’t on birth certificate can the mother still claim child maintenance. Also can a maternal family disclose to the paternal family that a woman has a grand child even if the baby’s father doesn’t wish for this to be disclosed ? Many thanks
Berry - 16-Jan-20 @ 2:12 PM
Need help currently pregnant n have split up with my unborn childs father he is wanting to have the baby over night 3 days a week from being 3 weeks old iv told him that the baby needs to be in a settled routine and that he can visit as much as he likes until at least a few months old I just dont want the baby to be going backwards and forwards constantly, hes come back at me saying that its 50/50 and his house would be a more suitable place to settle n its equal rights... if I was to say no he says he will go to war with me and cause me to lose the baby all together hes said hes more stable and a better parent I'm just drained and cant understand why he cant just be patient I dont want anything from him material or money wise and I said I'd happily sign something if that's what his problem is please any advice would be greatly received either way hes going to make out I'm using the child as a weapon even tho I no I'm not
Chazz645 - 5-Jan-20 @ 6:34 PM
Hi after some advice, me and ex have one child together I gave my son to him which probably was the biggest mistake just thought he would be better off with his dad. I feel I have lost all rights and control over my son I had to litterally beg to take my own son out for less then an hour on his birthday. I visit to give my son Xmas cards and his dad all off a sudden is about to go out. My biggest concern was my son lack of awarness with roads as his dads letting him walk to school on his own sometimes.feeling quite useless and helpless as I gave my son to him so everyone is saying ive lost all my rights as I gave him up.is this true? He's also told me by text to pay more child maintance or dont bother seeing my son. Surely this isnt right. Any advice on my rights as a mum and what I should do etc would be appreciated.thanks
Naomi - 24-Dec-19 @ 7:30 AM
Hi I split with my partner a few months ago and have the children at my house at the moment.my x has just got a new partner without letting me know.we had an agreement we meet anybody introduce them to each other before the kids but she gas been bringing strangers home sleeping with them in the next room and telling my kids to lie to me aswell as her encouraging my children to drink alcohol with her and New partner.the flat she lives in is always in a mess and I don't feel my children should have to go threw this so said I'm keeping the kids at mine she can see them when she wants but there not living their.she has now threatened to call the police and have my children removed.ive got a solicitors appointment on 3rd of Jan but would like to know were I stand
Splatty - 17-Dec-19 @ 2:48 PM
Hi. I have been having my two children every two weeks and term time and two weeks in the summer. I get boxing day and we normally discuss some arrangements. This was all drawn up by solicitors and mediation 5 years ago. I've been having so.e trouble with her over maintenance. Last year my tax return wasssent good and it was decided by the agency that I didn't earn enough to pay. Again I handed in my tax return in July and have been waiting on a descion since then. I've contacted them over and over and finally had a result after she got so annoyed at me that they haddent made a descion. So she stopped my axcess over this. And I've been to my solicitor. She claims naw she never stopped my axcess. She has also said to me that this year I won't be having them on boxing day and all she's offered is New year's which is her weekend. Take it or leave it. When the children find out as they are 8 and 9 they are going to be deverstated as we've been doing this for 5 years. We've asked about a Xmas day each year but no joy. I have invited her to mediation which she expects me to pay and denies withdrawal of my axcess when she did. I've been abusing her she claims. Please someone give me some advice as I'm really loosing my cool and I can imagine their faces when they realize I'm not coming boxing day for them, whatever she tells them is going to be bad on me. I can't take no more. Thanks
Bates - 9-Dec-19 @ 8:34 PM
Hi I split with the mother of two of my children over 5 years ago within 5 years I have seen them once I have tried to contact them through family and friends and I have tried to contact her through my current partner as she has blocked me on everything(I don't know where she lives as she moved 3 hours away from me) still I've had no luck with seeing my children I have 2 children with my current partner and after 5 years of trying to see my other 2 children with no luck the mother of my other two children said the only way I can see them is if I take her to court. I am worried it will go against me because I haven't seen them purely for the fact she hasn't allowed me to no matter how hard I try I will take her to court to see them but I was wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation and they have managed to see there children! I am desperate to see they are my kids and this is the last option for me any advice would be appreciated.
Clar9 - 25-Nov-19 @ 10:01 AM
My partner and I have been in a relationship for 16months, he and his wife have three children (6yrs and twins 11mnths). My partner wants to leave and live with me, but is terrified that his ex wife will stop him from seeing his children and for them to be able to come and stay with us. Please could you advise as to whether he is right to be concerned?
Tostie - 17-Nov-19 @ 4:25 PM
My 1and half year-old son living in foster care iris really breaking me apart but I try my best to stay strong for my son I have been caring for him since day one I was pregnant his father abandoned I and my son till the day I gave birth he still abandoned his father responsibility and he was abusive too and my mother he know claims that I was abusive to him I have also done my best to do as the local authorities ask of me most of the staments made of me I believe to be untrue I am so truamertise by that specially the staments made by the father of my son I am trying my very best to work with the local authorities and the court my only wish is to get my son back the mistake that I made was to put his details on the birth certificate as he was never their for my son he was so controlling and demanding I am scared what he might have in plan ......
Mel - 9-Nov-19 @ 10:52 AM
The father of my son abandoned our son from the moment I was pregnant and he was abusive to me he know claims that I was abusive to him and can he have rofgt to custody to my son I have allways been their for my son and I have tired my very best to do as the local authorities ask of me and the court at the moment the doing an assessment of and my mother
Mel - 9-Nov-19 @ 10:43 AM
Hi, My Husband has 2 children one 18 that lives with us and a 16 year old boy that lives with his mother. For the last 5 years we have picked the boy up every Friday from school and one weekend taken him back on the Saturday and the other weekend we take him back on the Sunday evening. Now his mother has said we can only pick him up every other weekend. This has really upset us as we want to see him every weekend but she says it’s her weekend so we can’t have him. She works weekends so he is sat at home alone on his play station. So no reason we can’t see him as he is back before she gets home from work. It is upsetting for him and us. If we are over by where they live we will ring him and pick him up and do something then drop him home. His mother has now said we can’t do that as she doesn’t like it. My question is can she stop us picking him up? Thanks for your time
Liz - 4-Nov-19 @ 10:17 AM
Hi my ex partner has been getting access to our son Every second he took me to court last week for a child welfare hearing he’s got 1 extra day added on he has now said he has booked a 2 week holiday next may knowing we were going away a week in may which means he’s not gonna see our son for 26 days straight he maintains he can’t sort out school holidays because he doesn’t know what holidays he can get of work so how could he book a holiday 6 months in advance for himself can he do this we live in Scotland
Jo - 23-Oct-19 @ 2:39 PM
What can I do if my ex hasnt seen his children in 6years his on birth certificates. He's never paid any CSA they are now 13yrs & 11yrs both wont nothing to do with they father but they had a good relationship before we split up. Also we have a hoilday booked for Australia for 28days.....looking for advice please.
Sam - 21-Oct-19 @ 9:54 AM
Hi my grandson is 11 and wants to live with his dad he never wants to go home to his mum and her boyfriend he says he hates her he's so unhappy when he has got to go it's heart breaking seeing that change in him why son is on his birth certificate and named as his father can why son keep him or will he get in trouble of the police Thankyou need help asap
Jo - 18-Oct-19 @ 6:01 PM
Hi my daughter is 9 and me and her dad split in January found out he was seeing someone else my daughter don’t want nothing to do with him his new partner has reported me to social services etc put me through hell made me badly i don’t want him knowing nothing about her schilling or anything but he’s on system I’ve basically bought her up myself anyway can I have his details removed
Tra - 4-Oct-19 @ 6:43 PM
My daughter in law has kicked my son out he is now back with us. After two years of marriage their son was only 3 months old . She has changed the locks, made him go on antidepressants tables and sleeping tablets. He has organised marriage councillor and relate but neither have been very helpful. Her problem is her mom being over powering always there. She will not allow my son to see his son unless her mom is there and won’t let us see him either. WHAT can we do . Please help.
Sammy - 1-Oct-19 @ 9:54 AM
Hi I have a 3 year old boy who’s mother handed him over to me 3 months ago giving up all responsibility so she could further her career it’s just come to light after claiming child benefit and jobseekers and giving up my job to have him full time that now she is having second thoughts and is implying that she wants him back full time again as she doesn’t see him as much as she wants because of work and her ridiculous hours. But as from today she has stated her mother aka my child’s grandmother who also has a new born baby that she give birth to about 5/6 months ago will be taking care of him until 9pm every nightwhile she works all day I’d like to know where I stand and if I have any rights based on this alone. Coz I’m not prepared to hand him over when he has a regular bedtime/routine with me that I’ve worked on so hard since I’ve taken over full time he’s always been better for me anyway but now I have this system in place I feel like I’ve been used and betrayed also she has had at least 7/8 boyfriends in a year and they never last as they don’t except me as his dad or as the father of his mothers child this will almost always happen and in my eyes will almost if not confuse him and I just what consistency with him and I believe with me he will have all of the above. Can anyone advise me on the law of this situation
Nath - 26-Sep-19 @ 7:34 PM
I have not seen my children for nearly a year my exwife claims that my children do not want to see me citing that i would take them from her if they would see me which is not true but she has scared them into not wanting to be with me she has also used child Services to stop them for no reason apart from this but they have had no regular worker on this case and for convenience it feels they have kept me away i miss them so much i am missing them growing up and turning into functional members of life ita broken my heart and my soul completely now i have found that she has broken my last link with them and taken them out of school claiming that they are being home schooled i was calling them every week seeing how my two were growing now i have nothing i have fallen apart and feel i will never see them again i am a good loving dad and has lost everything but all I want is my children
Mick - 5-Sep-19 @ 8:43 PM
Hi, could someone please advise me on where I stand? I'm currently 32 weeks pregnant, after 4 months of not hearing anything from baby's dad he has got back in touch and is not demanding that when baby is here he will have him over night straight away. I have told him that I'm not allowing that as I need to trust that he is not going to do a runner out of our son's life and that he can keep up with baby's needs. Baby's dad now saying he's going to see a solicitor regarding 50/50 custody. I have not once said that he cannot see his child just that I don't want him having him overnight until baby is a bit older, thanks
Egray89 - 14-Aug-19 @ 10:32 PM
My daughters father has came out of the wood work after 10years of no contact. He wants regular phone calls, visits and parental responsibilities.I want to take things slowly but he keeps threatening me with court and "papers". He never turned up so he's not on the birth certificate. What rights does he have?
Leia - 25-Jul-19 @ 4:58 PM
My 10year olds father now wants regular calls and visits after 10 years of absence. He is not on the birth certificate (he never turned up). He wants parental rights, keeps threatening me with court and sending me "papers". I want to take it slow, phone calls 1st then visits. What are his rights?
Leia - 25-Jul-19 @ 4:46 PM
My partner moves out with our 2 year old son and is bow saying I only get 2 hours a week to see him. What can I do ?
Dale - 21-Jul-19 @ 12:17 PM
I need some advice and step by step guidance if possible my partner split with his wife a month after marriage it was extremely messy and she abused him mentally and physically initially he was allowed to see his 1year old daughter but everytime he went round to visit he was abused and it would end violently he pays monthly via direct debit directly into his ex wife’s account as agreed she refuses to let him have any contact at all now and he mentally can’t handle contacting her any morehe really doesn’t know what to do or what his rights are she has recently moved with his daughter and we have no idea where we have been told through mutual friends she claims she is changing his daughters surname which I don’t think is legally possible he has had no contact with his daughter for over 2months now she has point blank refused mediation or contact centres how do we stand with taking this to court? How do we begin the process how much will it cost ect any help would be much appreciated we are also concerned for the daughters wellbeing as there are big concerns on the ex wife’s family being involved in drugs and heavy drinking and the ex wife has serious mental issues
Tenna - 18-Jun-19 @ 11:20 PM
I need some advice and step by step guidance if possible my partner split with his wife a month after marriage it was extremely messy and she abused him mentally and physically initially he was allowed to see his 1year old daughter but everytime he went round to visit he was abused and it would end violently he pays monthly via direct debit directly into his ex wife’s account as agreed she refuses to let him have any contact at all now and he mentally can’t handle contacting her any morehe really doesn’t know what to do or what his rights are she has recently moved with his daughter and we have no idea where we have been told through mutual friends she claims she is changing his daughters surname which I don’t think is legally possible he has had no contact with his daughter for over 2months now she has point blank refused mediation or contact centres how do we stand with taking this to court? How do we begin the process how much will it cost ect any help would be much appreciated we are also concerned for the daughters wellbeing as there are big concerns on the ex wife’s family being involved in drugs and heavy drinking and the ex wife has serious mental issues
Tenna - 18-Jun-19 @ 11:19 PM
Hi I split with my ex in 2014, my son was 9 mths old at the time - Now 5 yrs old. My son was born in Guernsey - channel Islands and his Father (Northern Irish) is still living there. I am from the UK and we live here. The ex has had nothing to do with my son since 2014 (No maintenance and no visits - his choice) My son has his surname and i would like to change it to mine. Is this possible? If it goes to court, they will say he needs to visit my son. I do not have a problem him visiting my son, if he WANTS to and if he is not going to dip in and out of his life...messing with his emotions. However, i feel that this would not be the case, i feel that it would be false because the courts say he has to. My son goes by a known name. My question is do i just leave things alone and not pursue to change his name (As i know i will need his permission - Right?). This situation scares the hell out of me, because he is a very manipulating man. Please can you kindly help?
Help - 17-Jun-19 @ 10:12 AM
hi, my friend is in a spot of bother can anyone help? She wants to move her child to another school, she is seperated from the father and he is threatening to take her to court if she moves the child to another school, even though it is only round the corner from the current one, as this move is in the best interest of the child and her education as the current one is not helping her progress and its below standards, he lives in Spain which is over 1000 miles from here and only sees the child a couple weeks a year now. being he has all but removed all day to day responsibility, would she be able to send the child to a new school without such approval from the father and his lack of day to day responsibilites and the general welfare of the child which the mother is having to do. many thanks
friend - 16-Jun-19 @ 8:04 PM
Hi i hope you can help me, my sons father is throwing us out of his house coz of our personal differences, this is the second time that he did this to us and we have nowhere to go, no money to use .. What should i do?
Lizzie - 9-Jun-19 @ 6:29 PM
Hi, I don't know if you can help but here goes... My exhusband hasn't seen our children in nearly 8 years. He has sent an occasional card with money in for xmas and birthdays. I don't know where he lives as he left the country and we've had no direct contact since. His behaviour was such that if we hadn't split up, the children would have been removed. Recently I've been ill, and if the worst were to happen, I would want my mum and my partner (6 years plus) to co parent. He has legal responsibility as his name is on both their birth certificates but I don't believe it would be any good for the children if they were to see him, never mind live with him. Is there anything I could do to protect them please?
Me - 6-Jun-19 @ 7:21 AM
Rayray my story is pretty similar I have two children one of which sees her Dad regularly the other my little boy is struggling school social services and I met and decided his mental well-being is suffering when he sporadically does see his Dad 12 months ago he sent me a letter from his solicitor asking for pretty much 50/50 custody my solicitor replied being fair asking to build things up and asking for certain conditions to be met (worries about alcohol his bad parenting and other issues) He never replied and didn’t make contact for months he saw him once in sept and then not again until after Christmas I suggested he tried to call him each night but this lasted a couple of days he now wants him for a full day and to attend his wedding it’s the first time I’ve said a flat no after discussions with school and social services about a whole issue of things that have occurred since the last contact. I’m worried sick he will start again with his solicitor he’s never had him overnight and not for a full day for well over a years
Sizsaz47 - 2-Jun-19 @ 7:26 PM
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