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Do You Know Your Rights as a Father?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 16 Apr 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Rights Father Child Ex Child Support

Having never planned to be in this position before, you are probably unsure of exactly what your rights as a father are. You want to do your best as a father but what are your legal responsibilities? Here are some questions that you may ask to find out exactly where you stand.

Do You Have Parental Responsibility for Your Kids?

If you were married to your partner when your child was born, you have automatic Parental Responsibility. If you are not married and your child was born after 1st December 2003 and your name is on the birth certificate, you automatically have parental responsibility. If you are the biological father, you can still file for parental responsibility which gives you legal rights and responsibilities for your child.

Can You Make Decisions Concerning Their Upbringing?

With parental responsibility you have the right to be involved in all major decisions in your child life. This can be anything that significantly affects their upbringing such as education, medical treatment or religion. (For more information, see our article Making Joint Decisions About Your Child's Future on this site.)

Who Decides on Everyday Things?

Everyday decisions are left up to the parent who has residence of the children. Generally, the mother is given residence unless you or the courts decide differently. This means that she does not have to consult you about any day-to-day decisions.

Do You Have to Pay Child Support?

As a parent you are legally bound to Pay Child Support. The amount that you pay is worked out by the Child Support Agency (CSA) and will depend on a number of things including how much you earn and how you have split custody.

What Visitation Rights do You Have?

You may decide to organise your visitation independently with your ex, and this is fine as long as you are both happy with the arrangement. If not, you will need to apply for a contact order and be assessed to determine what visitation you are given.

Can Your Ex Take Your Children Out of the Country?

If your ex has residence of your children, she can take them out of the country for up to one month without your permission. If she wants to take them for longer or move abroad permanently, she will need your consent. If you have serious concerns about her taking them out of the country, then you can apply for an order to stop it.

When Does Parental Responsibility End?

Your parental responsibility and child support continues until your child leaves school or further education, which can be as young as 16 or finish when they are 19 and at university.

Finding out about your rights and responsibilities as a father is important so that you know what you are entitled to and what you need to do. If you can keep relations civil and handle the details with your ex then this can be better but, if not, you will have to go through the legal system to clarify things. Your ex has no right to stop you seeing your children and with a little bit of compromise and willingness you can both come to an agreement that is best for your children.

Making Things Easier

When you first split up it's easy for battles to ensue and for the children to take the brunt of it, even though this is never your intention. One way to make things easier is to draw up some kind of agreement at the outset - see our sample separation agreement.

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 broke up with my ex partner years ago n we have both moved on.we got a 11 yr old daughter.my ex is refusing to tell me if my daughter has been ill or what school she goes to.is there a way l could contact NHS or any health service so that the can give me infor about my daughters health ,if she has had any illness
Tawanda - 16-Apr-19 @ 1:46 PM
I think dad's get an unfair advantage in family courts I ask court to arrange contact to my now 16 month old baby girl by her mum. I did every night feed from birth until she was 13 month old and my ex partner end relationship and im kept from my daughter and because she used messages I sent asking on update on my daughter it got used as harassment by her allowing her lagal aid and im just wanting to see my own daughter and I have to represent myself against a trained solicitor wheres this fair on us dads .
Xgoduk - 4-Apr-19 @ 9:00 PM
My children are aged 7 and 12 years old they both don’t want to go out with dad and refuse to go I’m just wondering can a child be forced against their will to go as I would consider this is against human rights I’ve spoke to them lots and this is how they truly feel they don’t want a relationship with the father and don’t care for him no emotions towards him what so ever this has been their own choice and no doing of my own or convincing them otherwise as he had access set in place and going along with it until my child sat with school to discuss his feelings and brought to my attention that this is what my child really wants with plenty of discussion and now is forced against his own will and been told that if this how he feels then they can make a mature decision as no one can be forced and keep talking to them to make sure if this is something that will change or can be worked with to find a compromise but they both resilient and refuse to have anything and have to respect their choice I’ve tried with the access and set rules I’ve had meetings but this is something they both want and are very happy to go through life without their father and happy with their decision so can a child be forced against their own will and be forced to see that parent when it’s making them extremely unhappy and school reports to me that this is the only thing that’s making my child sad which is not what I want for them at all.
AmyRose - 31-Mar-19 @ 12:30 PM
Hello everyone! This is my very first attempt to reach out to such an organisation and to be honest, I am not entirely sure what to do or say. My previous partner and I were together for 5 years, during that time we had our little boy, but when he turned 2.5 we separated. In fact, I opted for moving to another country for furthering my education and as such, we seemed to have a plan (yes, only a verbal agreement) in place which would have ensured that I remained in touch with my son. We started getting our son used to interacting with me online while I was still in the UK. At the same time, the frequency of my visits in person also gradually decreased. We were doing this for about 2 months before my eventual departure. This all changed once I was already abroad. For the next 2 months his mother only brought him online once a week and each time she cut our time short for various reason. Then one day, it all stopped. That was the last time I saw my son. That was also over 4.5 years ago. During this time my family members (still in the UK) and I have attempted to get in touch with anyone from the mother’s side, but no one succeeded. I subsequently went back to the UK and managed to get connected with the mother via and old email account of hers. Though I was relieved to see a response, she only agreed to talk on the phone. During our phone conversation she refused to tell me where exactly they were, though I was assured that our son was developing well. Though she admitted that her refusal to let any of us see my son was fuelled by her personal reasons rather than what was best for our son, she seemed cooperative and we agreed to stay in touch via emails then go from there. Again, this practically stopped once I left the UK again for my second year of studies. That was the last time I heard from here. Since then, I understand that she has gotten married and occasionally I saw pictures of my son online as the mother’s sister and I were still connected via social media. Unfortunately, even that changed once I decided to reach out to her as my only point of contact. I was blocked subsequently. Now however, I am only 3 months away from permanently moving back to the UK and it is time for me to do something about this as it has gone too far. At this stage, I also do not want to come across as some sort of a victim. I simply just want to reconnect with my son and gradually become part of his life again, vice versa. I am, therefore, hoping to learn more from this website and the experience of others in similar situations, so that when the time comes, I will hopefully know more about my rights and what to expect from a potential court case.
Alx - 29-Mar-19 @ 6:04 AM
Me and my ex have an 18 month old who is the absolute light of my life, when I first met her I had a bad problem with alcohol and drugs but I never let it interfere with the kids, she also has 4 other kids to another man and I have one to another woman. Everything was very complicated but I could still see my 18 month old pretty much when I wanted , until it all kicked off and she got me arrested , now I can't contact her about my son, she dosnt wantme seeing him ATM apparently, but I don't know where this puts me . Can anyone help ??
jamier - 5-Mar-19 @ 8:40 PM
My ex and myself broke up 5 years ago I have paid child maintenance every month on the same date as soon as I get paid but she won’t let me see the kids because of her new partner. She has told our kids that he is their dad and they generally think that he is . She will only message when she wants more than the child maintenance that I give her . What do I do have I got a leg to stand on ? I have two kids with my current partner she also has two kids with her current partner and I haven’t seen my kids for the past 4 years now
John - 16-Feb-19 @ 9:31 PM
I have the exact same issues as the previouspost that my ex has moved house and my time with my child has now been changed. I run my own business, so my time isn’t as flexable as hersand we are now at a crossroads, where If I can’t comit to dropping him off and picking him up then I am not to have him. I pay for my child. She is unlikely to agree to mediation at this stage, so with this it is leaving me with fortnightly weekends without my time with my son. She has another child and uses the same excuse that she can’t pick him up or agree to a meeting point because of him (he’s 2) She has a partner and also lives with my sons step gran mother, so there is always someone at there home to look after her other son.
Hunter - 11-Feb-19 @ 9:29 AM
ex is aware of my shift pattern being 4 days in 4 days off. She has been happy for me to see my daughter on every second day and third day of my days off. Now she is telling me I might need to change my days when she goes back to work as it might stop her from seeing our daughter all the time, depending on her work pattern. Her work rota changes on a monthly basis whereas mine is the same all year around. She has explained that days might need to change so she can get to see our daughter too, but our daughter lives with her. She has also told me that she is moving, and after recently agreeing that if both of our partners cant drop off/pick up our daughter, then we are to meet at a public place. This has been fine until she has decided to move, to which I have asked to meet at a public place which is in the middle for us both, at the designated time we have previously agreed. She has now told me that due to her other childs sleeping times, I will either have to drop my daughter off at her home, even though there have been allegations of domestic abuse, hence why I am more comfortable with a public place. Or I need to meet at a public place earlier, which then reduces my time with my daughter. She also stated that if im not happy with that then I am to change my days, which is practically impossible due to work commitments. I feel really lost as I have requested that we go to mediation to resolve this matter, to which she declined as she stated she isn't paying for mediation so I might as well take her back to court. I feel like if I don't agree to her way then my contact with my daughter will be affected. As she has stated I wont be getting my daughter if she cant get back home to hers, but wont agree on anything suitable for both parts, just for the simple fact she has another child.
desperatedad - 9-Feb-19 @ 6:42 PM
Having trouble with my daughters father I have messaged him days he can take her but he won’t answer his texts he hasn’t seen her in 3 weeks but says he misses her so much I have told him until he makes the effort to even ask how she is then what’s the point I don’t know if I am doing th right thing
Court - 8-Feb-19 @ 8:42 AM
My ex and I have a 9 year old disabled daughter we have been seperaged since she was a year old his name is on her birth certificate he pays every weeks for her and is in constant contact Now our issue is his work because our daughter lives with me they have no obligation to give him time off for her appioments as they believe it is my responsibility to deal with her care needs they keep telling him I have soul custady which I have never claimed for I have residential as my daughter stays with me most of the time but stays over night with him twice a weeks. I was under the impression I'm Scotland if he signed the birth certificate and pays for her he had 50% rights towards our daughter. His work are refusing to give him time off because they he never been to court for joint custody we are confused about what rights he has as a father as lawyer has told us I have residential and we have never claimed for soul custody which are completely different. Scotland
Cassie - 6-Feb-19 @ 11:20 PM
hey I'm aaron, I was with my ex partner for 9 years and we had two beautiful boys. She the went and had an affair which inadvertently split us up, since then she has played god with letting me see them then no. I am on the birth certificates but she has refused to let me see them for nearly a year now I'm lost as don't have money to fight her in court, I do work but my money pays for child support and my other bills, I would like advice as it's killing me not seeing my boys, HELP anyone.
aaron - 6-Feb-19 @ 6:27 PM
Hi, i’m currently 7 months pregnant with my ex partners child. We recently split because he has been very abusive especially during my pregnancy. He constantly tells me he does not want the child and calls it terrible names. Things got so bad that I tried to take my own life because I couldnt handle the way he was treating me. Luckily i’ve found the strength to cut him off and focus on becoming a mother. After everything he has done I have decided to give my child my surname and leave him off of the birth certificate. We were never married and never lived together so will he have any rights to see her? I just dont feel comfortable with him being in her life as I feel that he will mistreat her and abuse her too as he never wanted her.
KateM - 6-Feb-19 @ 6:15 AM
Hi my ex stopped me from seeing my Lowell girl about 6 years ago and I couldn’t afford the court proceedings. But I’ve been told rumours my ex might of changed my daughters surname with out my consent how would I be able to find this out ?? Any help would be greatly appreciated
Boro1702mac - 16-Jan-19 @ 6:32 PM
Why am I been told I'm a spammer I need help getting on here and chatting to people
Ry - 12-Jan-19 @ 9:03 AM
Hi I’ve tried to register on here and keep saying I am a spam.. why is this happening?
Mowgli - 10-Jan-19 @ 4:52 PM
Hi everyone I need a bit of advice... I used to have my son on a week end from Friday to Sunday but sometimes only Saturday night all depending on what work shift I was in.... now my sons mother has cut my contact down to only seeing my boy on a Sunday for a few hours... basically she has done this because she don’t like me having my boy around my partner.... my partner has done nothing wrong for this to happen.. when I first got with my partner I used to get abuse saying if I didn’t end it I weren’t seeing my son etc.. then tried to get me to go back to her which I declined.... at that point she did have child services involved which they told her she can’t do that.... and soon as child services closed the case the games started to get played again.. had my son on the week end as usual then returned him home to later on getting a message saying my partner better not be playing mammy to my son... me confused replying what you talking about... so apparently he said he was with mammy and daddy.... he had only ever called my partner Mam once which we corrected him.... bare in mind he had only just turned 3 year old. And he was hearing my partners little boy call her mam... my partner is no danger to my boy one single bit... we all had a great bond which in some cases that doesn’t happen.... it has now been a few month of me only seeing my boy only on a Sunday and it’s breaking everything completely... when I loose my boy he looks at me as to say “where you been” disappointed etc... me and my boy had an amazing bond and he used to love spending week ends with me sometimes was hard to get him back home because he wanted to stay.... but now I have had people tell me she is telling my boy that her partner is his dad... this is destroying everything... I’m down all the time just wishing things could go back to normal... it’s causing problems with my relationship with my partner and my relationship with my son... my son looks at me as if he feels like I don’t love him or care for him.... it’s seriously causing huge problems I don’t no what to do I need some help
Mowgli - 10-Jan-19 @ 12:29 PM
@mowgli.i am sorry to hear this .may I recommend joining our forum there are other dads who have been though the same experience maybe be able to offer sum advice there is one poster in the forum that has advice for everyone I am sure( she )would give you sum advise.
Team - 10-Jan-19 @ 12:49 AM
Hi everyone I need a bit of advice... I used to have my son on a week end from Friday to Sunday but sometimes only Saturday night all depending on what work shift I was in.... now my sons mother has cut my contact down to only seeing my boy on a Sunday for a few hours... basically she has done this because she don’t like me having my boy around my partner.... my partner has done nothing wrong for this to happen.. when I first got with my partner I used to get abuse saying if I didn’t end it I weren’t seeing my son etc.. then tried to get me to go back to her which I declined.... at that point she did have child services involved which they told her she can’t do that.... and soon as child services closed the case the games started to get played again.. had my son on the week end as usual then returned him home to later on getting a message saying my partner better not be playing mammy to my son... me confused replying what you talking about... so apparently he said he was with mammy and daddy.... he had only ever called my partner Mam once which we corrected him.... bare in mind he had only just turned 3 year old. And he was hearing my partners little boy call her mam... my partner is no danger to my boy one single bit... we all had a great bond which in some cases that doesn’t happen.... it has now been a few month of me only seeing my boy only on a Sunday and it’s breaking everything completely... when I loose my boy he looks at me as to say “where you been” disappointed etc... me and my boy had an amazing bond and he used to love spending week ends with me sometimes was hard to get him back home because he wanted to stay.... but now I have had people tell me she is telling my boy that her partner is his dad... this is destroying everything... I’m down all the time just wishing things could go back to normal... it’s causing problems with my relationship with my partner and my relationship with my son... my son looks at me as if he feels like I don’t love him or care for him.... it’s seriously causing huge problems I don’t no what to do I need some help
Mowgli - 10-Jan-19 @ 12:36 AM
Hi everyone I need a bit of advice... I used to have my son on a week end from Friday to Sunday but sometimes only Saturday night all depending on what work shift I was in.... now my sons mother has cut my contact down to only seeing my boy on a Sunday for a few hours... basically she has done this because she don’t like me having my boy around my partner.... my partner has done nothing wrong for this to happen.. when I first got with my partner I used to get abuse saying if I didn’t end it I weren’t seeing my son etc.. then tried to get me to go back to her which I declined.... at that point she did have child services involved which they told her she can’t do that.... and soon as child services closed the case the games started to get played again.. had my son on the week end as usual then returned him home to later on getting a message saying my partner better not be playing mammy to my son... me confused replying what you talking about... so apparently he said he was with mammy and daddy.... he had only ever called my partner Mam once which we corrected him.... bare in mind he had only just turned 3 year old. And he was hearing my partners little boy call her mam... my partner is no danger to my boy one single bit... we all had a great bond which in some cases that doesn’t happen.... it has now been a few month of me only seeing my boy only on a Sunday and it’s breaking everything completely... when I loose my boy he looks at me as to say “where you been” disappointed etc... me and my boy had an amazing bond and he used to love spending week ends with me sometimes was hard to get him back home because he wanted to stay.... but now I have had people tell me she is telling my boy that her partner is his dad... this is destroying everything... I’m down all the time just wishing things could go back to normal... it’s causing problems with my relationship with my partner and my relationship with my son... my son looks at me as if he feels like I don’t love him or care for him.... it’s seriously causing huge problems I don’t no what to do I need some help
Mowgli - 9-Jan-19 @ 11:41 PM
Hi everyone I need a bit of advice... I used to have my son on a week end from Friday to Sunday but sometimes only Saturday night all depending on what work shift I was in.... now my sons mother has cut my contact down to only seeing my boy on a Sunday for a few hours... basically she has done this because she don’t like me having my boy around my partner.... my partner has done nothing wrong for this to happen.. when I first got with my partner I used to get abuse saying if I didn’t end it I weren’t seeing my son etc.. then tried to get me to go back to her which I declined.... at that point she did have child services involved which they told her she can’t do that.... and soon as child services closed the case the games started to get played again.. had my son on the week end as usual then returned him home to later on getting a message saying my partner better not be playing mammy to my son... me confused replying what you talking about... so apparently he said he was with mammy and daddy.... he had only ever called my partner Mam once which we corrected him.... bare in mind he had only just turned 3 year old. And he was hearing my partners little boy call her mam... my partner is no danger to my boy one single bit... we all had a great bond which in some cases that doesn’t happen.... it has now been a few month of me only seeing my boy only on a Sunday and it’s breaking everything completely... when I loose my boy he looks at me as to say “where you been” disappointed etc... me and my boy had an amazing bond and he used to love spending week ends with me sometimes was hard to get him back home because he wanted to stay.... but now I have had people tell me she is telling my boy that her partner is his dad... this is destroying everything... I’m down all the time just wishing things could go back to normal... it’s causing problems with my relationship with my partner and my relationship with my son... my son looks at me as if he feels like I don’t love him or care for him.... it’s seriously causing huge problems I don’t no what to do I need some help
Mowgli - 9-Jan-19 @ 11:29 PM
Hi I split up with my ex of 5years we have a 3yr old daughter, I brought my daughter up from birth as she wasn't Intrested we had been splitting up and getting back together because her behaviour etc, she's got a domestic against her for smashing my house up etc, we have been going through court I'm fighting for my daughter as I want her full time and social work have writing a report saying my daughter should be going back to me, so the 2 lawyers and my ex agreed to hand my daughter back to me then we went back in front of the judge and she said no to it she wants the grandparents involved because the mats who's watching my daughter they have had her 40days, the judge said she wants to hear from the grandparents if there happy enough to give me my own daughter back because they have a bond with them but I brought her up since birth I had the biggest bond with my daughter but they took her off me so is this right what the Judge is doing to me.
Steven - 12-Dec-18 @ 1:41 PM
My wife left me and now she expects me to watch our son while she works is this my proplm
Jd - 26-Nov-18 @ 4:19 AM
My sons wife left him with there 3yr old son. And she wants him to babysit him while she works ..is this hair for him
Sallyd - 26-Nov-18 @ 4:16 AM
My son s wife left him with there 3 yr old son.and my son cant go to work or look for work. Because he watches him while she works is that fair.What can he do??
Sal - 26-Nov-18 @ 4:14 AM
You advise will be highly appreciated. I have 8&11 year old. Separated with their mother a year ago. We have been on and off for the last five years, this was because I found it hard to detach with my children. To call the story short. My ex thinks she calls the short every time I have to succumb to her demands. I have tried to be civil but I feel there is some alienation of some sorts that I don’t want to go into details of it. Now, there have been so many occasions where she wouldn’t be at home when I drop children off. She tells the children to lie to me that she is inside the house. Three occasions I have text her over the phone that I will not drop children off without an adult present at home. She will then say to me that they are older enough to stay at home until she comes home. I never did but I will wait until I’m sure she at home. The last time I dropped them off she told the kids to pick up keys outside of the house and go inside. She said she was in the bath and that was why she left keys for them to get inside the house. I waited two hours and drove them back to my house which take an hour. I refused to pick them from their house now. I told my ex that I will only pick them up and drop them off at the designated area because I can’t drop them off without an adult present. She said to me that I should either pick them up from home or forget seeing my kids. What do I do?
Sonya - 22-Nov-18 @ 6:49 AM
You advise will be highly appreciated. I have 8&11 year old. Separated with their mother a year ago. We have been on and off for the last five years, this was because I found it hard to detach with my children. To call the story short. My ex thinks she calls the short every time I have to succumb to her demands. I have tried to be civil but I feel there is some alienation of some sorts that I don’t want to go into details of it. Now, there have been so many occasions where she wouldn’t be at home when I drop children off. She tells the children to lie to me that she is inside the house. Three occasions I have text her over the phone that I will not drop children off without an adult present at home. She will then say to me that they are older enough to stay at home until she comes home. I never did but I will wait until I’m sure she at home. The last time I dropped them off she told the kids to pick up keys outside of the house and go inside. She said she was in the bath and that was why she left keys for them to get inside the house. I waited two hours and drove them back to my house which take an hour. I refused to pick them from their house now. I told my ex that I will only pick them up and drop them off at the designated area because I can’t drop them off without an adult present. She said to me that I should either pick them up from home or forget seeing my kids. What do I do?
Sonya - 21-Nov-18 @ 11:49 PM
You advise will be highly appreciated. I have 8&11 year old. Separated with their mother a year ago. We have been on and off for the last five years, this was because I found it hard to detach with my children. To call the story short. My ex thinks she calls the short every time I have to succumb to her demands. I have tried to be civil but I feel there is some alienation of some sorts that I don’t want to go into details of it. Now, there have been so many occasions where she wouldn’t be at home when I drop children off. She tells the children to lie to me that she is inside the house. Three occasions I have text her over the phone that I will not drop children off without an adult present at home. She will then say to me that they are older enough to stay at home until she comes home. I never did but I will wait until I’m sure she at home. The last time I dropped them off she told the kids to pick up keys outside of the house and go inside. She said she was in the bath and that was why she left keys for them to get inside the house. I waited two hours and drove them back to my house which take an hour. I refused to pick them from their house now. I told my ex that I will only pick them up and drop them off at the designated area because I can’t drop them off without an adult present. She said to me that I should either pick them up from home or forget seeing my kids. What do I do?
Sonya - 21-Nov-18 @ 3:28 PM
My ex is being really unreasonable I have an 11 year old boy who's my world I love him to bits but my ex's for some reason keeps dictating when I can see him one week am allowed access the next week am not it's confusing me and obviously my kid it's out of order all I want is to be a dad I aren't asking for the world just the right to be able to see my child and be a dad what I know am very capable of it's really unfair actions speak louder than words in my eyes and am going to fight this all the way believe me dad's have rights
Gazlee - 21-Nov-18 @ 8:02 AM
Can the mother give the kids to the father? Is there a legal solution so that the mother cannot return to take them away if she changes her mind?
James - 18-Nov-18 @ 8:17 PM
We only split up 2 weeks ago but this isn't the first time tho it is whilst we have had the kids . She always told me she would never stop me from seeing them yet in 2 weeks she has now told me I'm never having them again all because I'm not jumping through hoops doing what she wants me to do . I mean I walk on egg shells as it is trying to do the right thing but ATM I have no where to live so today I picked kids up and took them to a friends (no where else to go) for some dinner but cos she doesn't approve of this friend I'm not allowed to see them again . Is this just absolutely wrong or what? Why is it us dads tht actually want to see our kids have to fight to do so ? And tht fighting costs US money. Money tht I dnt have . My kids adore me and I them and there mother knows this yet, after all the saying she would never stop me from seeing them etc. Etc. She does do knowing full well it ain't what the kids would want so not being in there best interest . I really need some advice on how to go about legally being able to see them cos they mean the world to me and I just can't not see them it will ruin me .
Jase - 11-Nov-18 @ 8:14 PM
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