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What Are The Legal Rights of a Father?

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 17 Nov 2019 | 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 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
My son went to mediation for get to see his son . The mother is still playing up saying we can have him then we can’t we can take him on holiday then we can’t ! Is the best next step court ?
Sharom - 22-May-19 @ 9:02 PM
I offer free advice to anyone going through this situation, and can also help should th matter end up in court. Happy for anyone to contact me.
Familia CoParenting - 20-May-19 @ 8:21 PM
Hi, I have not been allowed access to my son for many years. Once he turns 16, am I allowed to approach him in the street to talk to him or would that be an offence?
Father2003 - 20-May-19 @ 4:38 PM
So I spilt from my partner 2 years ago and it's been a constant battle to make him realise we are a team. He found a new partner and moved into her parents home 1year ago. Once I found out I asked to meet them as I like to know who and where my child is/with. He said yes but it never happened. I then found out when he has him which is every 2 weeks that he still goes to work and leaves him with the gf or her parents/family and friends. I've expressed this cannot happen as I do not know them which he refused to consider. He then took my son away without telling me and and when I casually asked where they were (as he stated they weren't home) he wouldn't tell me hung up and didn't answer his phone for a week. (Had him during half term) I've now said when he picks him up next I'll need his address as what he did made me worry and I need some assurance that I know where he is. He has refused. Please help. I don't want their relationship to decline but he isnt being fair.
Tash - 1-May-19 @ 3:39 PM
I spilt with my ex last may haven’t spoken to or seen my daughter since my ex was drunk at the time called police on me told them a pack of lies got me arrested , her sister had to go to her house to look after our 6 year old cause my ex was to drunk to look after her I wasn’t charged with anything as I hadn’t done nothing but was excluded from going to the address for 28 days as that was due to come to and end she went to court told lies once again then I got letter from courts saying not to contact her indirectly or directly or go to the address or I would be arrested and could be sent to prison , it seems to me she can she what she likes and they believeher and I feel am being treated as criminal even though I haven’t done anything , I didn’t send my daughter Christmas presents or birthday present or anything for Easter as I was worried my ex would use this as indirectly contacting her , I have her presents and can’t wait to until the day I can give them to her , I’ve now gone to solicitor to start court proceedings as the order she got ends in may before she try’s the same again
Daz - 26-Apr-19 @ 7:46 PM
I spilt with my ex last may haven’t spoken to or seen my daughter since my ex was drunk at the time called police on me told them a pack of lies got me arrested , her sister had to go to her house to look after our 6 year old cause my ex was to drunk to look after her I wasn’t charged with anything as I hadn’t done nothing but was excluded from going to the address for 28 days as that was due to come to and end she went to court told lies once again then I got letter from courts saying not to contact her indirectly or directly or go to the address or I would be arrested and could be sent to prison , it seems to me she can she what she likes and they believeher and I feel am being treated as criminal even though I haven’t done anything , I didn’t send my daughter Christmas presents or birthday present or anything for Easter as I was worried my ex would use this as indirectly contacting her , I have her presents and can’t wait to until the day I can give them to her , I’ve now gone to solicitor to start court proceedings as the order she got ends in may before she try’s the same again
Daz - 26-Apr-19 @ 7:45 PM
My ex moved away 6 hours away from where we live with our 2 children. And he always says I should make an effort to meet him half way. But I refuse to pay train tickets. He only pays me 100 a month for both and that's when he has a job We agree when he picks them up to bring them all the way back but 1 week before doing that he asks me to meet him and how I'm un fair. He wants to go to courts but I feel like I'm right here he decided to move so far away so it's his responsibility to get them and bring them back he only has them half terms
Ash - 19-Apr-19 @ 5:00 PM
My ex and I have been separated for almost 3 years during which time he has been extremely unreliable with regards to contact and I have been the one making all the effort to get him to see his kids. After a number of further incidences, I ended up with children's services involvement over concerns about the emotional harm that his actions were having on the kids. Counselling was arranged and camhs referrals made for 2 of them for underlying issues that were exacerbated by him. Due to a number of issues with regards to his unreliability and how upset the kids were after his last contact he has not seen them in almost 3 months. During this time there has been a massive improvement inthe childrens' behaviour and emotional stability...so much so that children's services were happy to close our case. Days after this happened, he got in touch wanting to start seeing them again. I am wary of doing so at the risk of him continuing his erratic contact and causing the kids to go back on themselves again nd all the progress they have made. Children's services, their counsellors, schools and camhs worker have all expressed the opinion that the kids are better without contact because of the risk to their emotional wellbeing. If he were to petition the courts for contact, how strongly would they view these concerns? And is it possible they would refuse him contact? In an ideal world I would love for the kids to have a good relationship with their dad, but I've seen what his poor attitude towards their emotional wellbeing has done to them and I don't want to put them in a position for him to continue doing that. He is aware of the impact he has had and was informed of this by children's services and camhs as well as myself but still did not modify his behaviour. I have suggested mediation but said that he would have to be the one to arrange it as a way to prove he is committed - he is using finances as a way to refuse this as he claims he can't afford it. Where do I stand with refusing contact? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks
Rayray - 16-Mar-19 @ 4:34 PM
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