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How Visitation Rights Work For Fathers

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 21 Oct 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Separated Dads Visitation Rights Contact

As a father you want to stay in close touch with your children, even after you and your partner have separated. Obviously, the best and simplest way to do this is an agreement between you and your ex, which can be made legally binding by solicitors. This means it doesn’t have to go through the courts, and will work when relations between the pair of you are amicable.

If you have Parental Responsibility, either by being married to the mother when the child was born, being present when the birth was registered and having your name on the birth certificate as the father, or through a Parental Responsibility Agreement or Parental Responsibility Order, you have rights and responsibilities to your children.

Obviously, part of that is support in financial terms, but also in emotional and legal terms, too. In return, you have contact with your children. Family Courts have a principle called “presumption of contact”, under which they have to do everything possible for fathers to see their children.

Contact Orders

Very often, Court-issued Contact Orders prove unnecessary, since arrangements will have been worked out privately or in mediation between the two parents. However, even where a Contact Order is issued, often the parents are allowed to work out the details for themselves. Before any Contact Order is issued, however, the court must take several things into consideration:

  • What the child wishes, if he or she is old enough to make any kind of decision
  • The educational and emotional needs of the child
  • Whether there’s any risk of harm to the child
  • Whether you’re capable of meeting the child’s needs during contact

These might seem possibly weighted against you, but the sole intent is for the welfare of the child. In the vast majority of cases – well over 90% – Contact Orders are granted. If it’s come to a hearing, one important factor will be the report by the Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) officer. Both parents, as well as other carers and teachers, will have been interviewed, and in most cases the court accepts the report as it stands (although you can challenge part of it or even ask for a new report from a different officer if you disagree).

Residence Order

A Residence Order determines who the children should live with. If none has been issued, then the children will stay with their mother. You can apply for a Residence Order to have full custody of your children, but realistically speaking, unless there are pressing reasons they should not stay with their mother, it’s unlikely your request will be granted custody.

Things Not To Do

When you have contact with the children, you should not attempt to take them out of the country without written permission from their mother. Even if it’s for a holiday, this needs to be discussed and permission in writing given. While you have the children, don’t say negative things about your ex-partner. It creates confusion and a bad atmosphere for the children. You have more positive things to concentrate on during your time with them, anyway.

Take at look at our article Making the Most of Your Time With Your Child for some ideas about what you can do together.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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I have been split up with my ex for nearly 5 years. I have never stopped him from seeing his son, talking to him on the phone every night, staying at his place once a night at the weekend. He met someone quiet quickly after we finished I was ok with this all I wanted was to meet his partner for a coffee and a quick chat this is the women who would be in my sons last. I was single for 2 years my ex would have his son one day at the weekend he sometimes caused problems if family members were coming to see my son. When I met my current partner who I am getting married to 2 1/2 years ago my ex started playing silky games like complaining that he can’t see our son that weekend and little things like that. My partner has custody of his boy who is the same age as my son well we all live together now me and my partner and his boy and my son live a hectic life kids come first, football training playing football school work it’s hectic. But my son still talks to his dad every night and he can see him after he finishes work in the week day when he wants. He also stayed at his home mostly one a weekend not all the time as my ex partner has a life which I am constantly having thrown in my face. He has now decided he wants to see out son every other weekend for the whole weekend, my son is not keen on the idea sometimes maybe but not all the time he would prefer once a week. My ex had heard this from my sons mouth my ex asked him why and I said because that’s what he wants. As he hadn’t seen our son for about 4 weeks due to my ex not able to doing once a weekend as his has a social life!!!! My son stayed with his dad for 3 nights they had lots of fun. He dropped my son off today saying I’ll see you in 2 weeks I said but he doesn’t want to see you every other weekend and stay both nights you know this he said but we can have more fun together but my son said no my ex actually said well he has a life and wants to do social things at weekends and relax!!Anyway my ex stormed out blaming me for brain washing him and stopping him from seeing his son. As soon as he went my son went straight to the toilet as he will not poo at his dads so my poor son hadn’t been a poo since Friday evening when I try to explain things like this to me ex all I get is verbal abuse and accusations that I’m stopping from seeing his son??? Which is not true! My son as football matches on Saturdays and football training for 2 hours on the Sunday plus homework. I have never stopped him from see our son it’s all because he wants to go out every other weekend and trying to use emotional blackmail and and false accusations about me. He even messaged me and told me to write in my calendar that our son will be staying at his every other weekend. I have tried to explain our son doesn’t want this and he want to stay every weekend just one night but he is just not listening to either of us and making it out to look like I’m the problem I told him that I gave my life up for my son and still will
Josie - 21-Oct-20 @ 12:22 PM
I have been split up with my ex for nearly 5 years. I have never stopped him from seeing his son, talking to him on the phone every night, staying at his place once a night at the weekend. He met someone quiet quickly after we finished I was ok with this all I wanted was to meet his partner for a coffee and a quick chat this is the women who would be in my sons last. I was single for 2 years my ex would have his son one day at the weekend he sometimes caused problems if family members were coming to see my son. When I met my current partner who I am getting married to 2 1/2 years ago my ex started playing silky games like complaining that he can’t see our son that weekend and little things like that. My partner has custody of his boy who is the same age as my son well we all live together now me and my partner and his boy and my son live a hectic life kids come first, football training playing football school work it’s hectic. But my son still talks to his dad every night and he can see him after he finishes work in the week day when he wants. He also stayed at his home mostly one a weekend not all the time as my ex partner has a life which I am constantly having thrown in my face. He has now decided he wants to see out son every other weekend for the whole weekend, my son is not keen on the idea sometimes maybe but not all the time he would prefer once a week. My ex had heard this from my sons mouth my ex asked him why and I said because that’s what he wants. As he hadn’t seen our son for about 4 weeks due to my ex not able to doing once a weekend as his has a social life!!!! My son stayed with his dad for 3 nights they had lots of fun. He dropped my son off today saying I’ll see you in 2 weeks I said but he doesn’t want to see you every other weekend and stay both nights you know this he said but we can have more fun together but my son said no my ex actually said well he has a life and wants to do social things at weekends and relax!!Anyway my ex stormed out blaming me for brain washing him and stopping him from seeing his son. As soon as he went my son went straight to the toilet as he will not poo at his dads so my poor son hadn’t been a poo since Friday evening when I try to explain things like this to me ex all I get is verbal abuse and accusations that I’m stopping from seeing his son??? Which is not true! My son as football matches on Saturdays and football training for 2 hours on the Sunday plus homework. I have never stopped him from see our son it’s all because he wants to go out every other weekend and trying to use emotional blackmail and and false accusations about me. He even messaged me and told me to write in my calendar that our son will be staying at his every other weekend. I have tried to explain our son doesn’t want this and he want to stay every weekend just one night but he is just not listening to either of us and making it out to look like I’m the problem I told him that I gave my life up for my son and still will
Josie - 21-Oct-20 @ 12:10 AM
@leo.hey if the mother off this child reads this .hey i don't want [visitation] and don'twant no trouble the child is all yours [100 percent you raise her the way you won't] .i want to call a [truce] i don't want any trouble .i love my life now .truth is we should have never been[ together] in reality [you and gordon make great couple] and would make great parents together .hey sam you should hit him up he[ loves you so much in reality] blind freddy can see that .truth is i[ never wanted to be with you] i only stayed because off old ways you no do the right thing .but that means nothing these days .if i am honest you where only a bit off fun in my twenties [ no offence ]but thats the gods truth .anyway this is my last post do want you want with your daughter .
c laurie - 30-Jun-20 @ 2:48 AM
@leo.i love my single life (living with my bro and wouldn’t change a thing I was born for this lifestyle gods truth people may judge but at the end off the day it’s my life and I will live it my way) .how ultimately the chid in question is way better off with the mother and partner in a (family environment) you know with mum and dad .and I wish them the best in life .now I only have one request (LEAVE ME ALONE) and I will do the same I give my word .because if they don’t the fire in my belly will most likely fire up again it’s the laurie curse or mental issues .(so it’s best to leave me alone and let me live my life in peace) .because it’s taking me nearly (40 years) to control the beast inside And sometimes he wants to explode. and have sum ex partner from a million years ago came annoying me will push me over (edge) and I will (100 percent will be jail) .and would have hurt them (permanently) .so if you read this (sam )take what I say (serous) .and let me grow (old peacefully).and I promise I will never bother you again .(you will never understand why messaged so much) .it made sense to me that’s all that matters but it’s over now .(have a good life with your children and partners) .
C laurie - 29-Jun-20 @ 9:42 PM
@leo.i love my single life (living with my bro and wouldn’t change a thing I was born for this lifestyle gods truth people may judge but at the end off the day it’s my life and I will live it my way) .how ultimately the chid in question is way better off with the mother and partner in a (family environment) you know with mum and dad .and I wish them the best in life .now I only have one request (LEAVE ME ALONE) and I will do the same I give my word .because if they don’t the fire in my belly will most likely fire up again it’s the laurie curse or mental issues .(so it’s best to leave me alone and let me live my life in peace) .because it’s taking me nearly (40 years) to control the beast inside And sometimes he wants to explode. and have sum ex partner from a million years ago came annoying me will push me over (edge) and I will (100 percent will be jail) .and would have hurt them (permanently) .so if you read this (sam )take what I say (serous) .and let me grow (old peacefully).and I promise I will never bother you again .(you will never understand why messaged so much) .it made sense to me that’s all that matters but it’s over now .(have a good life with your children and partners) .
C laurie - 29-Jun-20 @ 9:20 PM
@leo.after I read all these posts wow it’s quiet remarkable to me .i had the best set up with child’s mother years ago she didn’t want child support and she didn’t want me to have contact because I would get in her way with her little fantasy off playing happy family’s with hubby she thought she would hurt me doing that ha ha .little did she know that was exactly want I wanted .now I use to get ask a lot about going to court for visitation because my family wanted to see the child they are (weird )like that good people but.(they stopped asking now which is great) .i am calm these days the fire in my belly for( fight has gone out) .i am a (old men now) I like to relax and get fat grey or in my case bald And fat .(i am totally happy to step aside and let her mother partner play happy family’s And totally content with the idea )I am to old fighting with sum some (old hag and partner) good lord I couldn’t think off anything worse to be honest( they can have the child now go play mummy and daddy and leave me alone this is what I think anyway) .i am to old to care these days I got my own life to worry about and they should worry about there family .
C laurie - 29-Jun-20 @ 8:56 PM
@leo.after I read all these posts wow it’s quiet remarkable to me .i had the best set up with child’s mother years ago she didn’t want child support and she didn’t want me to have contact because I would get in her way with her little fantasy off playing happy family’s with hubby she thought she would hurt me doing that ha ha .little did she know that was exactly want I wanted .now I use to get ask a lot about going to court for visitation because my family wanted to see the child they are (weird )like that good people but.(they stopped asking now which is great) .i am calm these days the fire in my belly for( fight has gone out) .i am a (old men now) I like to relax and get fat grey or in my case bald And fat .(i am totally happy to step aside and let her mother partner play happy family’s And totally content with the idea )I am to old fighting with sum some (old hag and partner) good lord I couldn’t think off anything worse to be honest( they can have the child now go play mummy and daddy and leave me alone this is what I think anyway) .i am to old to care these days I got my own life to worry about and they should worry about there family .
C laurie - 29-Jun-20 @ 8:37 PM
I am full time working dad and my ex is part time working. Informal Parenting plan was working fine between us for while till she got married and my daughterdon’t like staying with her that much. She took me to court yet cafcas asked her to Allow me to see my daughter for our daughter wellbeing. Now my ex want to formalise a parenting plan which both we don’t agree. What court will decide in this case? I have given her 2 chooses but each time she put them down and she suggest a complicated plan for me . Please advise
Leo - 29-Jun-20 @ 4:14 AM
Hi,i have some questions regarding my daughter who is already 26y/o and since then i got pregnant we never meet again with her father because of some reason behind..since then before i give birth to her i met another guywhohappened to help me and he`s nice..before i give birth he wasnt able to go home because i dont know that may be before we methe has already a girl which i dont know..he Said the girl wait outsidehis work place andbring him home and Said that he was pikot a shotgun wedding .. he come home and go after me in a clinic were i supposed to give birth. After i give birth i stayed in my friends house because he needto go back to the Girlsprovince to celebrate theirwedding. He left us again. And during that time i decided to leave him.. But instead of Continueworking he chooseto go with us .. and the father of my daughter got married..Eventhough he didnt see me and we have No communication but everything that happened to him i know because of a reliable person. He has No child with his wife . his wife treathim as a slave keep on shouting at him everytime he cant understand what she mean andeven around so many people she Said that she wasnt afraid to loose a husband..it come to a point that he want my number . For 27 years that we have No communication i feel Pityfor his situationhe told me that he is so upset that i didnt give him a child.. and because of the treatment of his wife to him i told him that yes he had a child , first he cant believedand when i told him he was soglad.. my reason of tellinghim the truth isto havehim someone to care for him anddepend him of his wife .He accepted the child he already acknowledge it as his child.The problem now is his wife Will not accept the child and she saidif my daughter is there my daughter can only visit her father once a weekand cannot sleep in herfather house..because its the law and thatsthe adviceof the attorney..how true is that..they dont have a child but all of his wife niece are living with them and theyre the one spending them to school.. what is the rightof my daughter .. Before they got married we have already ourDaughter..now because the father recognize the child she want to go to DSWD so they can Signeda paper legal separation so she want that the house Will go to her alone and the parcel of land which was the husband herited from his parents be divided.. is the wife has the right to demand of 50%to a non conjugal property of a husband..pleasehelp..Thank you in advance.
Malificent - 30-May-20 @ 10:41 PM
My Husband is in a affair for 2 months. I never denied him access to the children and that he can come see them anytime he want. I even gave him the key to the house so that he can come anytime. The only thing i asked him is that, he cannot introduce the other woman to my children yet, and when the right time comes and on my terms. My eldest has ASD he is 7 but his understanding is 4 years old and his emotional development is not really how it should be for his age. When he is sad, he doesnt express this, and he cannot explain himself if something is happening. My 2nd child is only 10months old. Now my Husband is pursuing that he wants to take the children to his house where they live together with the other woman. And i am fighting him with this. As i cannot allow him to confuse my children most specially the eldest one. I have suggested him many times that we can do activities with the kids together like taking them out, or take them for a drivebut he refuse all the time. All he wants is he wants to do activities with my children with his other woman. My husband was never a hands on father, he couldnt manage our eldest before on his own, he always want me to be with them most of the time when we go out. I never seen him being hands on with our little one as he broke up with me 2 days i went back to work after maternity leave. I basically do everything. Guys, do i have a stand to stop him from doing this if we go to court? I am really worried for my childrens emotional safety.
May - 28-May-20 @ 11:01 PM
My daughter mum does not talk to me and have to talk throw my 7old... That not right. So wht I do. I phone her ever day I wht a settimes for her to c me.. This was before OK But now it a joke. She does wht she want and I fill that wrong At mo ment we are on Lock downbut she went old to c her mum today with daughter wrong again.... Chop and changed. I need a plan with both us agree and stick to...
Giggs - 10-May-20 @ 4:22 PM
Hi I recently splitt with my partner she has took out a non molestation order against me were she lied about me I havent saw my daughter in 3 weeks I messaged her asking about my daughter and to check that's shes ok and that I love her the next thing I new i was arrested because she stated i was harassing her when I wasent I'm a good dad and its breaking my heart not seeing my little girl shes 2 please someone help me what can i do
Dan - 8-May-20 @ 5:29 PM
Can a father still see his 4 year old son during this virus lock down if he usually lives with the mum?
Daisy - 5-Apr-20 @ 10:27 AM
I split from my ex a few motnhs ago my lil boy has just gone 1, for months she would make me jump threw hoops to see him , my msg to you all is if you have a ex who starts like that they will always be like that go mediation then court you may or may not get the result what you want but at least its set in stone and you know where you stand some things better then nothing , but something to the ex will fell like a total loss to her you will win in the long run remember your kid will grow up and know there own mind good luck all stay strong its mad how vile and evil people can be try not let it drag you down go the correct route asap GOOD LUCK ALL
ADD - 20-Dec-19 @ 3:42 PM
Split with my partner 3months ago, and the first 3 weeks she would not let me see my kids. Then all was good for a while until she got her new place, got everything from mine leaving me with nothing, now she want let me see them again now she has everything. I just want to see my kids do I have any legal rights?
Tez - 7-Dec-19 @ 2:34 PM
I need some advice regarding my child and his father. Myself and my partner dont live together but we have s little boy together who's just turned 2 yrs old...I claim benefits at the moment and have been told that my childs father cannot visit our home to see his child. He can come to the door and pick our son up but cannot visit and stay in our home to spend time with his son?who as the rights to tell me my sons daddy cant come into my home n visit his child?I'm a young first time mummy so i dont know what rights being on benefits I'm allowed to do or not to do?please help...
Saraj - 5-Dec-19 @ 9:24 PM
I have just been made aware of a 60 day rule for fathers I am furious I need advice on what I can do to prevent it been 55days I never knew until now please help
Concerned - 25-Nov-19 @ 11:34 PM
I separated from my daughters mother a week after my daughter was born, which was 3 months ago now, for many reasons I dont want to explain on here. I have moved on with someone else but my daughters mother will not let me have my daughter on my own due to moving on with someone else, which is unfair but I can see her point in why she wouldnt... but I still cant see my daughter unless I'm with the mother, but the mother has tried so hard to get me back which wont be happening. I dont know what to do, and need some advice please. Thank you.
DJ - 22-Oct-19 @ 11:53 AM
@wan.this is (gods truth) .i don’twant( visitation ).the only reason I contacted her mother was to (cause trouble pick a fight )gods truth .i found it very funny she is feeling awkward because she was in a relationship with my old uncle ha ha .he even changed his job to match mine .poor old bastard ha ha .i had (my fun )and had the last laugh .now everyone can get on with there life’s .
C.laurie - 25-Sep-19 @ 10:49 PM
I have spilt from exand i was seeing my child on every other weekends and school holidays but she has a daughter befote i met her so i take her as well but if i say no she dont want to sent my baby then , she use it against me and now she as move away miles from me I don't really see my childdon't even where they or which school she go now , I want to be in my child same way ,need advice to how to approach this
Wan - 25-Sep-19 @ 7:00 PM
My partner had a court order where he could see his son every Wednesday and every other weekend, his ex constantly broke this order and in the end much to my partners heartbreak he gave up trying to fight her as she caused so much trouble and the police did nothing... Today out of the blue and after about 6-7 years of seeing him she has emailed saying you are having your son this weekend or I'm going to drag you through court. Is the first court order valid?
Bishy - 19-Sep-19 @ 6:21 PM
A friend of mine recently got back in touch, after 8 years; after splitting up with his now ex. They split for whatever reason, and he thought he had walked away from a controlling relationship with her. They do have a near 6 year old daughter. What bothers him as well as me; is the fact that his ex is still controlling him. She does this in the sense of, he is not allowed to take his daughter out, on his own. They have never been to court, for it to be passed as supervised contact. My friend doest know if he is coming or going. Does anyone have any advice?
Kezza - 18-Aug-19 @ 12:30 AM
Hi I currently don't have a set routine seeing my son. My ex wants me to see my son every other weekend and collect him from school twice a week on the weeks when I don't have him on the weekend. I live in Kent and my son lives in london. Am I being unreasonable only being prepared to have him every other weekend? Would a judge say I have to collect him from school twice a week every otherweek even though each day it's £27 pounds?
Spursno1 - 17-Aug-19 @ 10:19 PM
My ex and I seperated when she was pregnant so she decided not to put me on the birth certificate so I took her to court and I was granted PR through the courts and awarded unsupervised visits of 3 hrs every saturday and sunday. From the time my daughter was 3 months I have seen her every saturday & Sunday since and Increased my visitation to full days over the last 3 months. In addition to this I collect my daughter from nursery ever wednesday and have her for 1hr 30mins before I drop her off. My daughter is now 1yr old and I have asked to start having overnight stay but my ex refuses and says she isn't ready even though I know that she allows my daughter to stay with her mother at least once a week. Do I stand a good chance of getting overnight stays at this age if I approach the courts?
Miles33 - 27-Jul-19 @ 12:59 AM
My nephew has seperated from partner and is due supervised access in a centre to his child. Thanks . He was told he has to pay £60 for each visit?. Is this standard procedure , anyone know??
Edilews - 27-Jun-19 @ 7:16 PM
I feel I was in a abusive relationship and I had to step away daughter now two son three. It's been one year and I seen them 28 times I missed birthdays and almost everything. I try to make it work but had to go to court I never married but sign birth cirtificate. Today was the first day I was to see them court told me 12-5 she left before I arrived. Now I have to keep going there every weekend to get my heart broke because she doesn't care for me to be I there life. Court again July 12 she been trying to change the children names and leave the country I'm fear full I will not see them again. Honestly I excepted that I have no control over then situation and she can careless what court says because she leaving country. Tells me I do nothing for them and she lets me do nothing for them.
Single daddy - 16-Jun-19 @ 5:16 AM
I split up with my partner 10months ago we got a 3 yr old son that she’s totally refused me to be in contact with,she’s blocked me in all possible ways so that i cannot find where they live,before we went separate ways she had agreed for me to be seeing him,little did I know it was all a lie,my heart is completely shattered,i cry everyday thinking of my boy.i have givenher time thinking she’s going to get back but all in vain.Im here requesting for the best contact or a mediation team or who can help me and guide so i can be able to be visiting my son.Thanks alot ??
Kenny - 4-Jun-19 @ 7:33 AM
If a father wants to see his child should he be arranging to pick them up and drop them back?
Mummey16 - 16-May-19 @ 6:41 PM
My issue is slightly different, the father of my children only comes and sees them when he feels to. He can go weeks without seeing them and when he decides to come see them he has attitude like he doesn’t want to be here! I would rather he stayed away personally but my children ask for him and I look like the bad guy all the time, I try and protect my children from heartache by not telling them the truth ‘that there dad really don’t care’ and I feel I’m forcing him to come see them to save them from pain! What is the best thing for me to do?
Mummy85 - 5-May-19 @ 3:58 PM
I see so much hurt and pain on these posts. Though you all give me strength as I am not alone in this. I am also going through the pain of not seeing my son 3yrs old. The pain is the worst in the world. It's like living with bereavement. Be strong Dads and don't give up. It's a hard rocky road but it's worth it in the end.
StrongDadz - 15-Apr-19 @ 6:05 AM
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