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What Are The Legal Rights of a Father?

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 8 Jan 2021 | 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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Hi a friend of mine has had their grandchild living with them for the past 4 years with the parents consent , only now the mother of the child has moved on and had two more kids with someone els ,the father of the child at the grandparents wants desparetly wants to see his son and take him out but the grandparents are flatly refusing to let the child see the dad their are no bad circumstances atall to do with the father it's the grandparents that are not allowing any contac....what can the dad do ... Thank you ..
Jeanie - 8-Jan-21 @ 7:41 PM
As a father who has 50 50 custody and pr, can I stop the mother from leaving my child with her new partner on their own, that my child isn't familiar with?
KingDaddems - 3-Jan-21 @ 10:22 PM
Hi , me ans my husband separated when.my child was.onky 2 yrs old now my son is 17yrs , his father has never tried reaching us yo know about his child whereabouts and he got married Now my son wants to.meet his father ,what is the process
Nitya - 19-Oct-20 @ 8:48 PM
Hello, I need some advice, I am currently drafting a will for my children's welfare. I would like to appoint guardianship to my mother but am afraid this may get over looked as my children's father has perental rights. My ex partner is not capable of looking after our children because he has a drinking problem. I don't denie him access to our children, Every visit he makes is supervised by myself. What do I need to do to guarantee my children's safety and well being.
Cyrian - 9-Oct-20 @ 12:38 AM
In california my son went to jail on a violation. 1 week later his girlfriend (mother of his 1year old daughter )gave birth to a premature baby girl positive with methamphetamines. Social worker told mother she needs out patient program baby remained at hospital for almost 1month. She was released to mother on a Sunday and baby died Tuesday morning. Mother called me in said baby died during the night while she slept. Atopsey showed babies skull fractured. CPS removed my 1year old granddaughter and contacted me after learning my son was in jail. I was then married to a feline and wasnt able to get emergency custody of her. Maternal grama was given temp emergency custody the plan was for my son to reunify with my granddaughter. Unfortunately a riot in county jail gave my son 1year in prison instead of the month violation. During this year both maternal n paternal grama get granted supervised visits through child protective services. My son released from prison Sunday and monday was a court hearing where they terminated his parental rights saying due to the child's age there was no bond and best interest was to be adopted. He had 1 last visit where my granddaughter immediately recognized him. There was such bond between the both. Heartbreaking to know it was his last time with his daughter..he appealed it but didnt win. Through this time CPS worker approved me to have unsupervised visits but then granddaughter was moved to a different worker in adoptions. She advise me to keep a good relationship wth maternal grama. Would be best . Without knowledge I agreed and maintained a relationship wth my grand baby gor 3years. 1week before her birthday the maternal grama said to me that they had decided to be her only family. I'm devastated has been 2years I last saw her. Maternal grama being an illegal resident was able to adopt my grandchild being mother of who my granddaughter should be protected from. Maternal had a 2 bedroom her husband 2 children and her other daughter along with husband and grandchild reside wth her. I had a townhouse 3 bedroom and was told my house was too small.. why were they In such a rush to put her for adoption if she was with family member? Why wasnt my son given the opportunity to be a father to his child? What can i do now is there anything I can do to have contact with my grandchild.
Mary - 18-Jun-20 @ 2:49 PM
I am the father of a 4 yo and Me and the mother have been seprerated a year now. I have always been a huge part of his life and he stays with me a few days of the week, every week. (During summer it's 7 days a piece and also more recently during lockdown it has also been 7 days each) Recently we have had some very serious concerns with the mother's behaviour towards him and we are seeking legal advice as well as contacting social services. I need to know if in the mean time he can stay with me until we get this all sorted out as the mother is claiming she will come and get him and take him back from me. She is aware social services have been contacted and I believe they contacted her too about it.Now we are both seeking legal advice but I could do with knowing in the mean time where my rights lie on this issue. I know mother's usually get priority but it's an extenuating circumstance. Also I have always been on the birth certificate.
Adhd - 2-Jun-20 @ 6:02 PM
Hi I left my children's dad 4 month ago he's been having contact with my son since what ever day he says he wants to keep our son I will say ok and let him recently had my second baby to him 5 week ago but now all of a sudden he's said he's taking me to court so he can have rights how do I stand with this as I let him see and take kids when he pleases I have not stoped any contact at all he's just out of the blue wanting to drag us through courts for no reason
Stacey - 9-May-20 @ 11:13 PM
Hi my sisters ex has had nothing to do with there daughter for 6yrs shes 7 now he has been paying maintinance with a push, hes now decided he wants custody!! Our dad died a couple of years ago and its been a struggle since for all of us but shes going through a break up with her new partner so shes pretty low Can he do this
K937 - 28-Apr-20 @ 4:33 PM
Hi I had a court order for my son not long after he was born in 2012 my name is on the birth certificate I was having regular contact with him every weekend and then for some strange reasons I got a letter in the post saying that she cancelled my child maintenance payments without my permission and then she stopped contact breaching the court order and have moved to a new location and I don't know where I haven't seen him now for 7 years could you help me please on what I can do many thanks.
Pikey - 17-Apr-20 @ 4:59 AM
My daughter is nearly one her dad doesn't live with usi have health problems, epilepsy, i need to know if my child dad can have my daughter for four days because my partner want commit and i need my daughter to be safe
Sky - 4-Apr-20 @ 10:04 AM
I i split up with my children's mother now my children are with me weekdays and weekends with her but she is still claiming there money and when its brought up she wants them back what way do i go about this because she has first right because shes the mum but her livinf situation isent permanent what can i do about this???
Joey - 10-Mar-20 @ 2:05 PM
Hi.I left my partner of 8 years bout a year and half now as caught her carrying on for a year. She is now engaged and living happily with him, Iv no issue over this at all..but because I have now moved on and found someone I am now no longer allowed to see my 5 yo daughter , all I get every weekend is abuse and drama from her, her 6th birthday is coming up this Friday!.i am a big part of her life and had her whenever I wanted..wtf do I do?
Franky - 29-Feb-20 @ 1:35 PM
Hi i havent seen my daughter for 8 years long story but court decided i would have to wait for them to contact me ,my daughter has contacted me saying she needs to see me shes 16 now also tough at home she told me we went through all the love you cant wait to see you etc etc but her mum found out she had been in contact ,and now i have lost contact ,she is 16 surely she can make her own mind up if she wants to see me and just wonder what i can do
Rich - 30-Jan-20 @ 6:09 PM
Hi just looking for advice on a particular situation I gave each year... myself and my sons dad are separated, we both have separate partners who we live with and he is married to his. My son stays with him 3 nights a week and with me 4. We have a fair agreement both doing similar things with him I.e holidays, and splitting weekend, Xmas and birthdays etc. My issue is, her dad goes away for one week every summer with his friends. He tries to trick me into dropping our son off on the normal days and and doesn’t tell me he’s on holiday, however in the past I have normally found out before the date from other people. He expects that our son should still goes to his house on the normal 3 days in the week to be looked after by his wife. The way I see it, is that it’s an opportunity for us to spend a weekend together - which we rarely have due to the arrangements. I have made it clear that it’s no reflection on her (quite the opposite that I’m thankful of everything she does for our son who is 10) however when he goes on holiday he is my responsibility and I will keep her at home for most of the time with me. I have suggested that he can still go for dinner and maybe stay over one night in the week if that fits with his wife, however it turns in to a battle every year because he wants to control the situation. He says legally she has to go there because that’s our agreement however with all due respectmy agreement is with him, not his wife. Legally am I in the right to stick to my guns here? Am I being unreasonable? Thank you in advance
Vickster - 30-Jan-20 @ 8:47 AM
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
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