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What Are The Legal Rights of a Father?

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 21 Feb 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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[Add a Comment]
Nikki - Your Question:
Hi. I hope when you read this I won't be judged. My ex partner and myself split up in 2011 my daughter now nearly 9 has always remained in my care and he has had weekend visits and school holidays split. I went through a tough year last year and I hung my self I know very selfish of me and I regret it so much. I came out of hospital 28 th January and my ex partner has got our daughter I understand he is concerned about everything but Iv been home now nearly a month he hasn't let me see her and Iv rang the social worker that's involved nearly every day since Iv been home. She hasn't returned any of my phone calls. I want my daughter home. I don't think it's right that I'm being ignored I understand what I did was wrong and I am truly sorry. Can some one plz advise me thankyou x

Our Response:
You shouldseek advice from a support group like Family Lives - try their helpline.If you apply to the courts, the judge will probably order further investigations and will listen to the social worker's opinionas well as yours, but decide based on the best interests of your daughter. It seems very odd that they won't even allow supervised contact.
LawAndParents - 22-Feb-17 @ 2:22 PM
There is a defined contact order stipulating the contact my child has with dad. Dad, so far in 12 months, has breached this order 24 out if 49 occasions, either by being excessively late or making other plans and being a no show. My child has ASD and struggles with both transition and change, so is struggling with the lack of consistency. It's manifesting itself in aggressive and really challenging behaviour, to the point where school have become involved and spoken with dad. I have been told I can't ask a court to enforce the contact order, because the child lives with me and need dad to agree to a reduction in contact. Is this right given the impact it is having?
Charlie22 - 21-Feb-17 @ 9:26 PM
Please could you advise me on an issue my son no longer lives with his sons mom they are always arguing, we see our grandsonon Sundays he is 4yrs when my son comes is he allowed to take his son out
Kazza - 21-Feb-17 @ 5:09 PM
Hi.. I hope when you read this I won't be judged. My ex partner and myself split up in 2011 my daughter now nearly 9 has always remained in my care and he has had weekend visits and school holidays split. I went through a tough year last year and I hung my self I know very selfish of me and I regret it so much. I came out of hospital 28 th January and my ex partner has got our daughter i understand he is concerned about everything but Iv been home now nearly a month he hasn't let me see her and Iv rang the social worker that's involved nearly every day since Iv been home. She hasn't returned any of my phone calls. I want my daughter home. I don't think it's right that I'm being ignored I understand what I did was wrong and I am truly sorry. Can some one plz advise me thankyou x
Nikki - 18-Feb-17 @ 12:35 PM
My husband has a child with his ex wife who is now 9. He has always paid maintenance every month of £300 plus. When the child was 6 months old she stopped allowing him visitation. She moved house & changed numbers. Took 18 months via court to get to see the child again. From 2 years old he has only seen his child once a week for between 3-5 hours. We now have 2 children of our own. So not only is she not getting quality time with my husband but with her siblings. His ex is very difficult & wont allow overnight or any extra time. What are his rights? Could he get over night if taken back to court? His ex works in law & it very manipulative. His child has indictaticated they would like to stay over but after speaking with her mom she changes her mind. Can she be forced to stay with us? It's her moms influence as she is very happy & content when she's is with us
Lou - 16-Feb-17 @ 9:20 PM
David3379- Your Question:
I have custody of my 13 year daughter since she was born she's carrys her mother sir name not mine so if the school was to take me to court would my daughters mom also be finded even though she lives with me only ???????

Our Response:
In theory both parents with parental responsibility are held "responsible" but generally, the main carer will be the one who has action taken against them.
LawAndParents - 14-Feb-17 @ 10:00 AM
I have custody of my 13 year daughter since she was born she's carrys her mother sir name not mine so if the school was to take me to court would my daughters mom also be finded even though she lives with me only ???????
David3379 - 12-Feb-17 @ 5:16 PM
My ex partner os expecting oir baby. I have grave concerns about the safety of our unborn child. I discovered that she has a serious problem with prescription drugs and have recently found evidence of this. She is saying at her parents house where there is daily violence, drugs and a person that is not safe to be around children (i was informed by the police and social services about this person in the past). Could you please inform me of my best course of action.
Gibo - 10-Feb-17 @ 3:17 AM
My son who is now 10 his father has not bothered with him for a few years now he used to pay maintenance but has stopped can i refuse parental rights to him as he isn't bothering to help
Missy - 9-Feb-17 @ 4:26 PM
My ex left when my daughter was 6 weeks old after having loan sharks after him at the door and he told them that she died, after sending them pictures of her when she was special care. He made it clear that if he couldnt have me that my daughter didn't exist and he couldn't be a dad. He was violent and had a temper , which he blamed depression and alcohol. The police were involved on many occasions. He is now all of a sudden threatening to get my daughter what can I do?
Miley - 9-Feb-17 @ 7:11 AM
My daughter is married and expecting a baby in the summer. Her husband does not live with her. What responsibility has the dad to provide accommodation for baby and mum?
worrier - 26-Jan-17 @ 8:59 AM
After splitting up with my wife she fled to another city with my children. I found out where she was and that she had made up lies about me. Saying i was violent to the children. After sorting this with social services i was alout to see me kids and had them in my care multiple times for multiple days at a time. Now for no reason she has been to court for a court order for supervised visits. Also told alot more lies. She is mentaly unstable and i know she isnt looking after or feeding my kids properly. What can i do? I am in court friday. Is there anything i can do to get residentsy of my children? And will the court believe her lies she has no proof or evidence
Nab - 25-Jan-17 @ 9:27 PM
I have my daughter for 6 nights a fortnight. I pay £37 a week in child maintance, also have to pay £45.50 in childcare costs and have to provide my own clothing for when she stops at mine..... so what is my child maintance actually for when I already have to pay the things it's suppose to cover. What can be done about sorting it our when the child maintance helpline doesn't think that that's wrong.
???? - 24-Jan-17 @ 6:06 PM
N - Your Question:
I have been separated from my ex for 2 years. I am unemployed and do not sign on. I recently had paid work and earnt £2700.00. I paid my ex £60 she recently found out how much I earned and has said as I didn't pay the amount I should of done I have no legal right to see my son, is this correct

Our Response:
No, the money you pay your son does not relate to contact time etc. If maintenance is calculated using the CMS calculator, earnings from the entire tax year are considered, so this will tell you how much you should be paying. Contacting your son is a different subject. If you cannot come to some agreement you may need to use a mediations service. If that's unsuccessful a court order might be required.
LawAndParents - 24-Jan-17 @ 2:07 PM
I have been separated from my ex for 2 years. I am unemployed and do not sign on. I recently had paid work and earnt £2700.00. I paid my ex £60 she recently found out how much I earned and has said as I didn't pay the amount I should of done I have no legal right to see my son, is this correct
N - 22-Jan-17 @ 1:07 PM
Hi I need help. I have been separated from my wife for 3 years now and have always seen my kids every other weekend. Lately my ex is stopping my daughter from coming to visit. My daughter is 7 years old. Lately my ex family having been planning events like bowling, pictures ect with my daughter on my weekends, which my daughter is wanting to do. Therefore my ex is saying she does not want to come down and it's stopping me from seeing her. Can this happen? Is there anything I can do to ensure that I see my kids on the agreed dates????
Sibble - 20-Jan-17 @ 9:25 PM
cat&dog - Your Question:
I had an affair with a woman and we had.a child I.see her.occasionally when her mom lets me and im.sick of it I just want to know what days I can have her.and also to sleep on a weekend im back with.my partner of 8 years and we have to 2 children but obviously her and my daughters mom dont see eye to.eye so what can I do.to sort something out because she does sometimes say I cant see her and will definatly.say it.if.I was to take.her toy.partners help please at the end of.my teather

Our Response:
Try mediation - if that doesn't work you may need to apply to the courts for a child arrangements order agreeing to contact on certain days etc. The courts will make their decision based on the best interests of your child.
LawAndParents - 17-Jan-17 @ 12:26 PM
I had an affair with a woman and we had.a child I.see her.occasionally when her mom lets me and im.sick of it I just want to know what days I can have her.and also to sleep on a weekend im back with.my partner of 8 years and we have to 2 children but obviously her and my daughters mom dont see eye to.eye so what can I do.to sort something out because she does sometimes say I cant see her and will definatly.say it.if.I was to take.her toy.partners help please at the end of.my teather
cat&dog - 16-Jan-17 @ 11:44 AM
My X girlfriend had my son birth certifecate dont without me know and didnt put me down as the father ive been trying to see him but under her perants rules she keeps asking for money witch i was happerly paying and at the time she had the bith certiecate done we were still together but now she saying im not seeing him unless it supervised though her perants
Deano - 13-Jan-17 @ 11:33 AM
My daughter was 2 when her mum and I separated, at the time she told me I'd never see her again, and she's been pretty much true to her word! My daughter is now 7 and I've not seen her in 5 yrs. Ive spent thousands on solicitors and court fees, she just accuses me of abusing my child and raping her!! Have contacted the police and she's not been to them at all!! But every time she says these things I have to spend money on letters in response! I've prioritised solicitors fees and now I'm behind in csa payments..so I pay maintenance for a daughter I can't see ?? Why do fathers have to pay for the right to see their children? Why does the law not protect me and is this ever likely to change?
Desperatedaddy - 11-Jan-17 @ 7:32 PM
Mick78 - Your Question:
I've recently split from a woman and she won't let me see my daughter at all I am on birth certificate what can I do

Our Response:
Try mediation to start with. If that doesn't work or she refuses, you may have to apply for a court order (form C100).
LawAndParents - 10-Jan-17 @ 11:08 AM
I've recently split from a woman and she won't let me see my daughter at all I am on birth certificate what can I do
Mick78 - 9-Jan-17 @ 11:15 AM
Hi. My Daughter is 10 years old. I had contact previously and it was withdrawn 2 and a half years ago. I have been messaging her other parent for the last year. I have recently been told that my daughter will meet with me again but they cannot promise anything after that. They have not been encouraging her to see me to put it politely and I wanted to know if legally she can tell a court that she doesn't want to see me and therefore be influenced into a decision to block contact from me legally?
Nadeem - 7-Jan-17 @ 11:57 PM
Nath- Your Question:
Hello, I was in a realationship for 6 years witch I had 2 kids the relationship we had wasn't good she was violent with me in front of my daughter beat me up threatened me with knifes etc I've since moved on as the realationship broke down as I discovered she was cheating on me since I've tried to make arrangements to see my kids every week but she's feels the need to stop me for the fact I've moved on, whilst been apart my son was born witch she had let me get in contact as he was in hospital born prem. I was there morning and night around my work times witch she then stopped me because I didn't go one morning coz I was too tired and told the hospital I wasn't aloud to visit. I've tried everything I can posibbly think of apart from court tried coming to a mutual agreement and she broke it any advice on what I can do next thanks.

Our Response:
If all your other options have been exhausted then unfortunately you may have to resort to a court order. The form you need is form C100.
LawAndParents - 5-Jan-17 @ 2:16 PM
Hello, I was in a realationship for 6 years witch I had 2 kids the relationship we had wasn't good she was violent with me in front of my daughter beat me up threatened me with knifes etc I've since moved on as the realationship broke down as I discovered she was cheating on me since I've tried to make arrangements to see my kids every week but she's feels the need to stop me for the fact I've moved on, whilst been apart my son was born witch she had let me get in contact as he was in hospital born prem. I was there morning and night around my work times witch she then stopped me because I didn't go one morning coz I was too tired and told the hospital I wasn't aloud to visit. I've tried everything I can posibbly think of apart from court tried coming to a mutual agreement and she broke it any advice on what I can do next thanks.
Nath - 4-Jan-17 @ 10:59 PM
Hi I have 2 children with an ex partner,boy 7 girl5.i.ve been in there lives since the day my boy was born,since day one I, ve always felt like her babysitter. Always paid had them every weekend even when she's working,which is mostly in school holidays even tho I work nites, she thinks I, ve to get up have them all day an still do a shift which I,m an hgv class 1 driver.i,ve never been aloud to meet someone,because she will stop me seeing my kids which are my life.
Rich - 3-Jan-17 @ 11:23 PM
And the 1st year of her life he was always in and out either fishing or at friends houses, I just feel he is a compulsive liar and it's one drama and one excuse after another I feel he is genuinely an unstable person, I'm not sure what to do I feel I have to protect my daughters feelings whilst she's still young enough but I don't want her growing up thinking I've done it out of spite because that is absolutely not the case, I know his background and his families background and all along I have trusted him to do right by our baby but I feel he just isn't that bothered until he's feeling a bit down. Any advice from someone who has experinced similar would be great
SL - 1-Jan-17 @ 12:18 PM
HI, my daughter is 17 months old me and her father got married in July by end of August we split our daughter lives with me my mother and my father, she is a content and very happy little girl, I gave her father pretty much shared access he had her 3 nights a week with sleepovers however on 2 occasions now he has not turned up on his weekend visits since he has had a new girlfriend the 1st missed visit he openly admitted it was because he didn't go to bed until 5.30am and was unfit to drive but rather than tell me that straight off he ignored my calls all day, I let him come and see her for an hour but refrained from letting him take her over night, he promised it would never ever happen again and he got upset by it to, I thought I could trust him not to do it again, in the mean time he broke his arm punching a wall and I think he has lost his licence after getting caught speeding then it turned out he wasn't insured, 2 months after his 1st missed visit i had her ready to leave she knew as she knows which bag she takes to his house, I hadn't heard off him by pick up time so I went to wait at my friends which is up the road from him time went on and by bedtime we still hadn't heard anything from him but had noticed on social media and got told from friends that he was up drinking and taking drugs at 5.30am. I got his phone bill and that suggested he was still making phonecalls up until 6.30am on the day of his missed visit and was on the internet at 8am, after the missed visit he tried to call me the following day 28hours after he should have picked up his daughter I had no intention of listening to his lame excuses, it was because of his arm or he couldn't get a lift, maybe so but does that excuse the no phone call to try and reach an arrangement of some kind or just to even talk to his daughter on the phone? He was clearly able to use his phone! He told me he had an early night and wasn't allowed to drink yet on the photo he has a bottle in his hand and a box of beer in the background, I know for a fact he will have been taking drugs to, we both agreed after the 1st let down that a 2nd one would be game over as I don't want my daughter growing up feeling rejected when she's stood at the window and he doesn't show up. I let her go to see him for Xmas so she didn't miss out but supervised by her uncle I picked her up later on, I requested an apology and an honest explanation about the missed visit in rider for us to move forward I heard nothing which made me think is he actually serious about contact? I just feel like he's happy to see her for a little bit then do what he wants for a week I suggested 1 day a week with no sleepovers but still didn't hear an explanation or apology no nothing I don't want to put my daughter through the heartache as I know he would do it again and again I just feel he isn't a very responsible parent or a good role model I did the whole pregnancy by myself whilst he either drank and took drugs or fished a
SL - 1-Jan-17 @ 12:11 PM
Hi my daughter is 2 and her father walked out of her life completely when she saw 12 days old, he isn't on her birth certificate and I have all the messages that were sent between us with me offering contact. Can he just walk back into her life and demand to see her and what rights does he have.Thanks
Worriedmummy - 28-Dec-16 @ 11:12 PM
Hi. My son is 3 years old and will be 4 in February.. he's started sleep walking again and started having night terrors and nightmares. Tonight he had two nightmares. He woke up scared, sweating and shacking both times. First time I calmed him down and put him to bed. Second time I aske dhad he had a bad dream to his reply was yes mummy then I asked what was it about and he said daddy I asked why has daddy scared you and he said yes I asked is he scared of his dad and he replied with yes then get got abit silly and started talking randomly as kids do.. me and his dad split when he was 15 months old... his dad has him most Saturday but that's only been recently as its pick and choice when he wants.. his behaviour has always been up and down and he has had assessments for autism and other things but been discharged by all of them . As I say when he's good he's great when he plays up he really plays up but his behaviour is awful when he comes back from his dad's angry, lashes out hitting kicking screaming hitting his sister and Step brother also me and my fionce then other time he comes back he can be as good as gold and you don't hear anything from him other than when he wants something but he tends to mutter then. And most of the time he doesn't want to go his dads unless he's getting a new toy or something the amount of times I have made him go and he's kicked and screamed all the way in the car but Now I'm worried that something is going on and something is worrying him or scaring him after him telling me he had been having bad dreams about his dad.. help I need advice I don't know what to do and can I stop him seeing him and seek advice threw someone..? Thanks
Babs22 - 28-Dec-16 @ 10:40 AM
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