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What Are The Legal Rights of a Father?

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 17 Nov 2017 | 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'm just looking for a little bit of advice. My boyfriend has been in his sons life since he was born, him and the mother of his son split up when his son was 1 (he is now 5) and he has had contact with his son ever since, when ever he wants. About 5 months ago now, his ex stopped him seeing his son for no apparent reason and demanded he speak to a lawyer. He is currently going through lawyers and she has decided to let him see his son 1 day a week, no overnight stays and he has to see him at his mother house. I know people will probably think there is reason behind this but there honestly isn't, nothing happened for all this to happened and it has left us baffled. Has anyone been in a similar position? Is there anything we can do to change this? He is on his sons birth certificate. Really hope someone can help, thanks in advance.
Lilly - 17-Nov-17 @ 9:12 PM
Hi, I have a 3 year old son me and his dad broke up not long after he turned 1 due to domestic violence. At first his dad was interested in seeing him but wouldn’t pay for him I didn’t demand money I was happy that my son was still seeing his dad. Now he’s older and is showing problems and currently undergoing autism assessments etc his dad seems to show less interest and for months I’ve been the one fighting for him to see his son. My son doesn’t do well with change and he needs structure and routine his dad doesn’t help this at all in one circumstance he kept him in nappies while I was potty training him! My question is, how much contact would a court advise for the Dad to see there son? I’m new to all this and I’ve got messages to prove how much I’ve tried to get him to see his dad and how much he has been let down. But the one time I stopped my son from going becaue his dad left us waiting outside in the cold where we normally meet with no intention of coming to pick his son up! His dad is now threatening court, which I don’t understand as he’s never bothered. I really need some advice
Laugeorge - 17-Nov-17 @ 2:03 PM
Ry1990 - Your Question:
I have PR as my name is on the birth certificate. My ex partner is only letting me see my daughter Who is nearly two every other weekend for one overnight stay. Do I have more rights too see my daughter on more of a regular basis or is the only way to do this is to go through court proceedings?Thank you for any feedback.

Our Response:
There are no specific rights in terms of time. It's widely acknowledged that children with 50/50 contact develop strong bonds with both parents. If you feel it would be better for your daughter if you had more contact, talk with her mother and see if you can come to some arrangement, so that when she's a bit older, you might build up the number of overnight stays etc
LawAndParents - 17-Nov-17 @ 12:27 PM
I have PR as my name is on the birth certificate. My ex partner is only letting me see my daughter Who is nearly two every other weekend for one overnight stay. Do I have more rights too see my daughter on more of a regular basis or is the only way to do this is to go through court proceedings? Thank you for any feedback.
Ry1990 - 16-Nov-17 @ 1:05 PM
Hello I have a 5 month old and me and my partner are going through a break up. His name is on the birth certificate and he's a great dad however he has a past. He isn't the problem though but he is demanding he wants to see her (over night etc) 3 and half days. I'm still breast feeding my little girl and she is only 5 month. I'm not stopping him from seeing her but I don't want to be away from her that much. His family are a issue cause he take them round his sister where they smoke cannabis in front of my child. They take about sex (detailed) and swear. I don't want my girl brought up like that so have I got the right to say he cant take her there? Surely it's a safeguarding issue? Thanks
Mc234 - 15-Nov-17 @ 8:13 AM
My daughter is 9months old and she's never seen her biological father, he is not on birth certificate and iv never had any money off him and don't want to either as I see him as nothing to do with her. He said he never wants to see her as has a new life but I have this fear he will try when she's older as I discovered he did this with his other child. I'm scared of this as he really isn't a nice or decent human and she wouldn't be safe. Could he get access in a few years time if he's not on birth certificate, not paid or never seen her or wanted to?
Jes - 14-Nov-17 @ 5:37 PM
Kaayyweee - Your Question:
I broke up with my sons farther before he was born. He met my son once and has never paid any money for my son or tried to see him. My son is now three and a half and my fiancée is looking into adopting him in the near future as he has taken on my son as his own and they call each other son and father. Also the biological father is not on the birth certificate as he refused to come with me. Can my fiancée adopt my son or do I need the fathers concent?

Our Response:
The step father will need to apply to the courts who will generally consider all the circumstances and will contact the natural fatherif they feel it is necessary anyway.
LawAndParents - 13-Nov-17 @ 12:52 PM
My son and his girlfriend split up when she was pregnant my son finished the relationship for reasons I don't know. Now she is stopping my son bonding with the baby and baby is 2 weeks old. What can my son do and what rights does he have? My son wants to get back with the Mother and the Mother refuses.I am Grandma of the birth child.
dozy - 11-Nov-17 @ 2:44 PM
Hi my boyfriend has a 2 year old son and wants more access to him over the weekends for him to stay at our home he sends money for his son every week and pays extra when he takes him outaswell the mother has refused him more access and has threatened to cut his contact down to 4 days for the month or to 1 day a month she also dictates where he can and can’t go and all the time gets her mum involved and try’s to cause arguments with the dad on his day to take him out and then refuses to let him have him and cancels his days frequently he doesn’t say where she can and can’t take him also if she asks for extra money for shoes or clothing or for their sons nursery he gives it to her with no problems and if he is ever sick and can’t take their son out on his day he sends the extra money he uses for there day out to the mother so she can take him out instead all he wants is more time with their son
Daisy - 11-Nov-17 @ 11:23 AM
Hello just looking for a little bit of advice. I have a 3 year old daughter with my ex girlfriend but at 9 months Old she stopped me from seeing her as I asked to be put on birth certificate and she didn’t want to put me on it. I am now back with my ex and seeing my daughter full time but I’m scared will happen again any advice in best way to solve this if it does happen again Many thanks
Steve - 11-Nov-17 @ 10:10 AM
I broke up with my sons farther before he was born. He met my son once and has never paid any money for my son or tried to see him. My son is now three and a half and my fiancée is looking into adopting him in the near future as he has taken on my son as his own and they call each other son and father. Also the biological father is not on the birth certificate as he refused to come with me. Can my fiancée adopt my son or do I need the fathers concent?
Kaayyweee - 10-Nov-17 @ 11:50 PM
Sally boy - Your Question:
Hi, I have 2 children from my ex partner. She has shown no interest in the children, I have an arrangements order granted by the courts that states the children live with me. She is granted supervised contact, but has shown no interest in doing this. She now tells me after 7 years that I may not be the father of my daughter (who I have an arrangements order for). I'm not sure where to go next, my daughter is mine and I have had no reason to disbelieve this until now. It's worth noting that she has drug and alcohol problems, and didn't bother to turn up at the court hearing. I need advice!

Our Response:
What does the child's mother propose doing about this? We can't really give advice unless we know that.
LawAndParents - 10-Nov-17 @ 3:08 PM
Rachael - Your Question:
My child's father said he doesn't want nothing to do with him and hasn't since the day he was born. I want to know is there anything I can do in the future to stop him from ever contacting my child

Our Response:
Not easily but if he does apply for contact at a later date, a court would ensure it was minimal at first until, the father and child got to know each other better.
LawAndParents - 10-Nov-17 @ 2:52 PM
Hi My partner who is british doesn't want a british passport for our child and he has no intentions to apply for one.The baby has been born in UK, we are not married.I am romanian and want to take the child in Romania. What rights do I have and can I apply for british passport? Thank yoy
Mich - 8-Nov-17 @ 8:39 PM
Hi, I have 2 children from my ex partner. She has shown no interest in the children, I have an arrangements order granted by the courts that states the children live with me. She is granted supervised contact, but has shown no interest in doing this. She now tells me after 7 years that I may not be the father of my daughter (who I have an arrangements order for). I'm not sure where to go next, my daughter is mine and I have had no reason to disbelieve this until now. It's worth noting that she has drug and alcohol problems, and didn't bother to turn up at the court hearing. I need advice!
Sally boy - 8-Nov-17 @ 8:33 PM
My child's father said he doesn't want nothing to do with him and hasn't since the day he was born. I want to know is there anything I can do in the future to stop him from ever contacting my child
Rachael - 8-Nov-17 @ 7:52 PM
Lotastress - Your Question:
My daughters father is not on the birth certificate our daughter is 3 he has only been around for a year and caused a lot of stress. He is now taking me to court to get parental responsibility, he has been racist and everything else in between. I recently asked him to pay for child care for one month he refuses until she can stay at his home, I do not want her staying over as he lives with other men that my daughter or I do not know. Can the court grant her to stay over when he lives with other men?

Our Response:
The courts will look at all the circumstances and make their decision based on what they feel to be the best interests of your daughter.
LawAndParents - 8-Nov-17 @ 11:48 AM
Soph - Your Question:
So long story my my partner has always seem to be a good day until he met his partner a year ago she has two of her own children who he will be ADOPTING. The eldest bullied my son who is 4 and when confronting the dad he denied it. I now currently finding myself in a constant fight with his dad over csa for our son and currently he is paying nothing but earning 17000 a year. I contacted csa and his partner started threatening me and my new baby and his dad saying I'm abusing my kids and I'm ruining her life just due to the fact I spoke to csa which is my right to? We took the threats to the police and it is harassment. They also told me that I have right to stop visitation rights ECT until a court order is given their is alot more to this story I did not want to stop him seeing his son but I am at a loss I have taken the correct legal path but in the letter I sent it gave my ex a choice that his partner is not allowed any contact with our child and that if he wants to see our son he can contact me as long as we sit and discuss everything amicably or we can go via mediation but I have not hurd anything I am conserned that he is going to try taking our son from school and basically kidnap him which police and ss are aware of am I in the wrong like I said their is alot more to it but this is the most recent events I am doing everything I can for my children but as far as he's concerned I'm not but this has only been since he's been with her and got his new family he just doesn't seem interested in our son if he can avoid having him he does I feel awful but I don't see what else I can do I've given him options and he's not taking them

Our Response:
Unless your ex's partner is a proven risk to you child, you can't really prevent contact because she is there or because he is not paying enough child maintenance etc. There must be more to this than you've explained here, if you have been advised that you can stop visitation rights over this.
LawAndParents - 8-Nov-17 @ 11:04 AM
My daughters father is not on the birth certificate our daughter is 3 he has only been around for a year and caused a lot of stress. He is now taking me to court to get parental responsibility, he has been racist and everything else in between. I recently asked him to pay for child care for one month he refuses until she can stay at his home, I do not want her staying over as he lives with other men that my daughter or I do not know. Can the court grant her to stay over when he lives with other men?
Lotastress - 7-Nov-17 @ 8:42 AM
Jenna - Your Question:
My childrens father has not seen or made any contact with the children in just over a year by his own choice. He has now become a heavy drinker. Drinking everyday. I just wanted to find out if he has had no contact after a year does he still have parental responsibility. Also if we think he is now a risk to the children safety what is the best way to deal with this

Our Response:
No he does not lose parental responsibility. If you consider the father to be a risk to his own children, you will need to provide evidence and apply for a Prohibited Steps Order etc. Just indicating that he drinks everyday may not be sufficient information inhelping a judge make a decision; if for example, he drank 1 glass of wine with a daily evening meal, a judge mightn't think this grounds to grant a PSO.
LawAndParents - 6-Nov-17 @ 2:19 PM
Jb - Your Question:
My ex and I broke up 2 years ago it’s been a horrible split and hasn’t seem to gotten better. She is threatening me with saying she will change my daughters last name. Can she do this as my on the birth certificate and I pay maintenance and have my daughter all the time.

Our Response:
No she can't do this without your consent. If you refuse to give your consent, she can of course apply to the courts, but it's unlikely they'll grant her request if you are fully involved in your daughter's life etc.
LawAndParents - 6-Nov-17 @ 2:00 PM
My childrens father has not seen or made any contact with the children in just over a year by his own choice. He has now become a heavy drinker. Drinking everyday. I just wanted to find out if he has had no contact after a year does he still have parental responsibility. Also if we think he is now a risk to the children safety what is the best way to deal with this
Jenna - 5-Nov-17 @ 1:02 PM
My ex and I broke up 2 years ago it’s been a horrible split and hasn’t seem to gotten better. She is threatening me with saying she will change my daughters last name. Can she do this as my on the birth certificate and I pay maintenance and have my daughter all the time.
Jb - 5-Nov-17 @ 9:02 AM
LouiseS - Your Question:
My daughters father wants to send us to mediation because he refuses to pick her up and drop her off on his ONE night a week with her. He says its "50/50" and "fair" that I either drop her off or pick her up. Yet he doesnt help with anything during the week and only pays £30 a week child maintenance (he has also took on loads more work which I haven't mentiond about paying more CSA to refrain from more arguments) he drives and I dont and we live about 30 minutes away from each other. Is it fair that I have to lug my daughter around on his only night?

Our Response:
If you can't agree between yourselves, mediation is often a good idea. A mediator will help you draw up an agreement that you can both stick to.
LawAndParents - 3-Nov-17 @ 2:08 PM
My daughters father wants to send us to mediation because he refuses to pick her up and drop her off on his ONE night a week with her. He says its "50/50" and "fair" that i either drop her off or pick her up. Yet he doesnt help with anything during the week and only pays £30 a week child maintenance (he has also took on loads more work which i haven't mentiond about paying more CSA to refrain from more arguments) he drives and i dont and we live about 30 minutes away from each other. Is it fair that i have to lug my daughter around on his only night?
LouiseS - 2-Nov-17 @ 9:38 PM
So long story my my partner has always seem to be a good day until he met his partner a year ago she has two of her own children who he will be ADOPTING. The eldest bullied my son who is 4 and when confronting the dad he denied it. I now currently finding myself in a constant fight with his dad over csa for our son and currently he is paying nothing but earning 17000 a year. I contacted csa and his partner started threatening me and my new baby and his dad saying I'm abusing my kids and I'm ruining her life just due to the fact I spoke to csa which is my right to? We took the threats to the police and it is harassment. They also told me that I have right to stop visitation rights ECT until a court order is given their is alot more to this story I did not want to stop him seeing his son but I am at a loss I have taken the correct legal path but in the letter I sent it gave my ex a choice that his partner is not allowed any contact with our child and that if he wants to see our son he can contact me as long as we sit and discuss everything amicably or we can go via mediation but I have not hurd anything I am conserned that he is going to try taking our son from school and basically kidnap him which police and ss are aware of am I in the wrong like I said their is alot more to it but this is the most recent events I am doing everything I can for my children but as far as he's concerned I'm not but this has only been since he's been with her and got his new family he just doesn't seem interested in our son if he can avoid having him he does I feel awful but I don't see what else I can do I've given him options and he's not taking them
Soph - 1-Nov-17 @ 8:29 PM
Charlieboy07 - Your Question:
Hi.My ex wife and I have been separated for over 2 yrs, we went to mediation and agreed to me having them from Saturday morning 9am through to dropping them off to school Monday morning then collecting them from school on a Wednesday afternoon through to Thursday, she recently just changed that with out even a discussion to her now taking them on Saturdays, I am not happy with this as I enjoy having them upon the agreement, I also provide ALL of their Wellfare costs and have no problem with that what so ever, she also 1 minute says that I can take them away on holiday but as soon as I book and pay for it then she changes her mind, thus ruining their trip that they look forward to. I can go on and on but basically just wanted to know if I should bow get a consent order to stop her from constantly changing her mind and changing visitation when she wants as in her words “she calls the shots”, she has also openly admitted that mediation agreements aren’t worth the paper they are written on ? Feeling somewhat frustrated and confused.

Our Response:
If you decide to get a contact order, you be asked to attend mediation first. If she refuses, that will probably help you in court anyway.
LawAndParents - 1-Nov-17 @ 11:03 AM
Monique - Your Question:
Whilst I was pregnant, the father of my child broke up with me and denied that our son was his. I told him that the baby was indeed his but he wouldn't not believe me. When my son was born 3 years ago now, his father still denied him so I had no choice but to give my son my last name. A few months after my son was born, we did a paternity through the courts and he was in fact the father to my child ( this I already new anyway) since this has taken place, he has none stop been going on about changing my sons last name to be double barrelled with his surname being at the end. I said given the fact that my son lives me and I have to care for him 99 percent of the time, and given the circumstances in the first place that my last name should stay at the end. My surname is biddy and the fathers surname is Lopez. However, he and his family do want it to be this way. I also had a dispute about it with his mother who cannot see reason from my point of view. I could understand if I was saying no completely, but still I feel that he is not willing to reason with me based on the circumstances. His father pays £50 a week in maintenance money (he used to pay more but dropped it) and he has 1 over night stay every 7-10 days. Apart from this, I have to cover everything else. I explained to him that I have to make sure that he is fed everyday, his clothes are washed, when he's ill I have to be the one who cares for him, take him to the doctors, drop him off to nursery and pick him up, I have to buy clothes for him. I said this in front of his mother and his response was ' your a single mother and that's what single mothers do'. And I do it all with very little help and when I have asked him for extra help he always makes excuses like ' I have no money ' or I'm paying how much the government says I'm suppose to pay based on how often I see my son. Sometimes he is also inconsistent like saying he will pick his son up at a certain time and then changes the time because he wants time to himself or he's tired. His family have a big influence on him and the decisions that he makes. At one point he agreed to it being Lopez-biddy but then some months later he said he had changed his mind and said that he was stupid for agreeing it to be that way! I don't really know what to do. He still lives at home with his family and his family as I said earlier, encourage him and at times tell him what choices to make. I don't really know what to do anymore. Am I being unreasonable? People say that you have to think about what is best for the child but I don't really understand what that means. I thought I was doing the best for my child. My sons paternal grandmother says family in Canada ( who he's never met) want to things for my son but can't because he does have their last name and his fathers sister wants to add him to a will or something to that effect but can't because he doesn't have their last name. I was told that what their telling me is not true and thei

Our Response:
You do not have to change the surname and you can choose where to add it (first or last) if you decide to double-barrell it. It sounds like the things you're being told are just to frighten you into doing it their way.
LawAndParents - 30-Oct-17 @ 1:54 PM
Whilst I was pregnant, the father of my child broke up with me and denied that our son was his. I told him that the baby was indeed his but he wouldn't not believe me. When my son was born 3 years ago now, his father still denied him so I had no choice but to give my son my last name. A few months after my son was born, we did a paternity through the courts and he was in fact the father to my child ( this I already new anyway) since this has taken place, he has none stop been going on about changing my sons last name to be double barrelled with his surname being at the end. I said given the fact that my son lives me and I have to care for him 99 percent of the time, and given the circumstances in the first place that my last name should stay at the end. My surname is biddy and the fathers surname is Lopez. However, he and his family do want it to be this way. I also had a dispute about it with his mother who cannot see reason from my point of view. I could understand if I was saying no completely, but still I feel that he is not willing to reason with me based on the circumstances. His father pays £50 a week in maintenance money (he used to pay more but dropped it) and he has 1 over night stay every 7-10 days. Apart from this, I have to cover everything else. I explained to him that I have to make sure that he is fed everyday, his clothes are washed, when he's ill I have to be the one who cares for him, take him to the doctors, drop him off to nursery and pick him up, I have to buy clothes for him. I said this in front of his mother and his response was ' your a single mother and that's what single mothers do' . And I do it all with very little help and when I have asked him for extra help he always makes excuses like ' I have no money ' or I'm paying how much the government says I'm suppose to pay based on how often I see my son. Sometimes he is also inconsistent like saying he will pick his son up at a certain time and then changes the time because he wants time to himself or he's tired. His family have a big influence on him and the decisions that he makes. At one point he agreed to it being Lopez-biddy but then some months later he said he had changed his mind and said that he was stupid for agreeing it to be that way! I don't really know what to do. He still lives at home with his family and his family as I said earlier, encourage him and at times tell him what choices to make. I don't really know what to do anymore. Am I being unreasonable? People say that you have to think about what is best for the child but I don't really understand what that means. I thought I was doing the best for my child. My sons paternal grandmother says family in Canada ( who he's never met) want to things for my son but can't because he does have their last name and his fathers sister wants to add him to a will or something to that effect but can't because he doesn't have their last name. I was told that what their telling me is not true and thei
Monique - 30-Oct-17 @ 1:43 AM
Hi. My ex wife and I have been separated for over 2 yrs, we went to mediation and agreed to me having them from Saturday morning 9am through to dropping them off to school Monday morning then collecting them from school on a Wednesday afternoon through to Thursday, she recently just changed that with out even a discussion to her now taking them on Saturdays, I am not happy with this as I enjoy having them upon the agreement, I also provide ALL of their Wellfare costs and have no problem with that what so ever, she also 1 minute says that I can take them away on holiday but as soon as I book and pay for it then she changes her mind, thus ruining their trip that they look forward to. I can go on and on but basically just wanted to know if I should bow get a consent order to stop her from constantly changing her mind and changing visitation when she wants as in her words “she calls the shots”, she has also openly admitted that mediation agreements aren’t worth the paper they are written on ? Feeling somewhat frustrated and confused.
Charlieboy07 - 29-Oct-17 @ 7:17 PM
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