Home > Legal > Do You Know Your Rights as a Father?

Do You Know Your Rights as a Father?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | 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.

** NEW** Separated Dads Chat Room & Forum

The Separated Dads Forum is a place where you can discuss relevant issues and concerns including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or just have a general chat with other dads.

Please help us launch it and make it a great resource for dads going through difficult times. We hope to see you on the Forum soon....

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Flash - Your Question:
Hi my situation is I've had a one night stand and got a girl pregnant by law what's is the lowest you can pay her without going through the csa because none of the money will go on the kid and my kid will want for nothing when he is with me thanks

Our Response:
You can see how much you should be applying via the CMS calculator here which will give you a good benchmark to go on. However, if you agree to maintenance between you via a family-based arrangement, then you can agree to whatever amount you both feel is fair. If the mother of your child does not feel it is fair, then she will have the option to apply through the CMS.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jan-17 @ 12:59 PM
Hi my situation is I've had a one night stand and got a girl pregnant by law what's is the lowest you can pay her without going through the csa because none of the money will go on the kid and my kid will want for nothing when he is with me thanks
Flash - 18-Jan-17 @ 6:37 PM
Hi I hope you can help my partner had a non contact order against him contacting the mum of his children it has now run out and he pays csa straight from his wages but she still refuses for him to see his children all she will allow is a 5min call twice a week when she decides his name is on the children's birth certificate and they weren't married they were born after 2003. Can he challenge her to see the children. Thank you in advance
Sk - 13-Jan-17 @ 8:39 PM
Trouty - Your Question:
Can the mother of my children change the last name with out mey consent??

Our Response:
If you have parental responsibility then your ex would have to ask for your consent to change their names legally by Deed Poll. However, if she wanted to change their names unofficially i.e school/GP records, then she would be allowed to. However, if she does this, your children's surames will still be officially yours.
SeparatedDads - 13-Jan-17 @ 3:05 PM
Greg - Your Question:
The mother of my child is refusing me acsess to my child my daughter isn't even here yet but she has made it clear she won't give me acsess what's the law and what can I do

Our Response:
If the mother does not register you on the birth certificate as the father, then as specified in the article, you would have to take the matter to court and apply for parental responsibility, please see link here and contact/access.
SeparatedDads - 13-Jan-17 @ 2:46 PM
stejas - Your Question:
Hello just hoping you can help, I have parental responsibility through courts , ex is threatening to stop access because of wage drop , was paying 116 but now paying 100 even thou csa say it should be 88 but she still want the 116 , anyway if access does stop who do I contact ? hoping not to go court because dont want it to take months and month which has in past , thank you

Our Response:
Child maintenenace payments and child access are not connected, therefore your ex has no right to base child access in return for money, as this is essentially blackmail. Therefore, keep any correspondence from your ex to this effect. You may wish to seek legal advice as a solicitor's letter outlining your rights may do the trick, especially if there is already a court order in place (you said you have previously been to court), please see link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 13-Jan-17 @ 11:56 AM
Can the mother of my children change the last name with out mey consent??
Trouty - 13-Jan-17 @ 5:22 AM
hello just hoping you can help, i have parental responsibility throughcourts , ex is threatening to stop access because of wage drop , was paying 116 but now paying 100 even thou csa say it should be 88 but she still want the 116 , anyway if access does stop who do i contact ? hoping not to go court because dont want it to take months and month which has in past , thank you
stejas - 12-Jan-17 @ 1:26 PM
The mother of my child is refusing me acsess what's the law on that and what can I do to have acsess to my child
Greg - 11-Jan-17 @ 5:21 PM
The mother of my child is refusing me acsess to my child my daughter isn't even here yet but she has made it clear she won't give me acsess what's the law and what can I do
Greg - 11-Jan-17 @ 5:19 PM
PLEASE can anyone help me I separated from the mother of my 2 children 3 years ago one is 6 and one is 3 I have been in constant contact with them having them ever other weekend my 6 year old daughter has always made a bit of a fuss coming with me but when her mum is out of sight she's fine but her mum has always made her come with no problems my 3year old boy has always been happy to come with me but now me and my current partner are having a baby she hasn't mentioned it but she is stopping contact now saying I can come see them for a few hours on my own every other Saturday because "she's not forcing them to come to me any more" what can I do about this how can she say a 3 year old doesn't want to come to me he is 3 and has always been happy to come I'm at my wits end please any advice would be grateful ????
Chris1982 - 11-Jan-17 @ 10:06 AM
mic - Your Question:
My ex partner is making me see my 2 kids in a contact centre not through the courts through her solicitor as I am not working at moment I couldnt afford to fight it. I been going for 6 mnths now and she has recently moved but wont give me her address does any1 know if she has to give me this leagally

Our Response:
Regardless of whether you are working or not, there are ways to fight for contact through the courts. Firstly, you can self-litigate, please see link here and your court fees may be waived if you have no income, please see link here. If your ex will not give you her address, then along with a C100 contact form, you would have to also fill in a C4 form which is an application to the courts for a disclosure of a child's whereabouts. While your ex isn't legally obliged to give you her address, it does mean the courts can put a trace on your children in order to allow you to apply for access. You also may wish to read the other articles on the Separated Dads site will which help you know your rights and our forum may also be of help. There is no reason that you should not be allowed to fight through the courts for reasonable contact to see your kids just because you are out of work. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 10-Jan-17 @ 12:08 PM
My ex partner is making me see my 2 kids in a contact centre not through the courts through her solicitor as i am not working at moment i couldnt afford to fight it. I been going for 6 mnths now and she has recently moved but wont give me her address does any1 know if she has to give me this leagally
mic - 9-Jan-17 @ 3:16 PM
custommadepotnoodle - Your Question:
My ex of around 8 years since I finished things with her and moved on (met someone else) has continued to destroy both of our lives ever since. This has been going on for over 2 years. She's ruining my livelihood, yet still expects child maintenance each month. I pay that each month yet have not seen a hair on my daughter's head for over 2 years. Disgusting. She has alienated my daughter into not wanting to see me. I am not even allowed to see her to give her Christmas presents!!. What kind of parent does that. To go through the legal system would cost thousands and, unless a windfall comes my way, that is never going to happen. They say karma comes around but it's taking a hell of a long time. Any advice, anyone?

Our Response:
If you can't afford the legal fees to take your ex to court, then you can self litigate, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 6-Jan-17 @ 2:43 PM
My ex of around 8 years since I finished things with her and moved on (met someone else) has continued to destroy both of our lives ever since. This has been going on for over 2 years. She's ruining my livelihood, yet still expects child maintenance each month. I pay that each month yet have not seen a hair on my daughter's head for over 2 years. Disgusting. She has alienated my daughter into not wanting to see me. I am not even allowed to see her to give her Christmas presents!!. What kind of parent does that. To go through the legal system would cost thousands and, unless a windfall comes my way, that is never going to happen. They say karma comes around but it's taking a hell of a long time. Any advice, anyone?
custommadepotnoodle - 5-Jan-17 @ 6:06 PM
Jayjay20101 - Your Question:
Me and my ex were together for 8 year. In that time she gave birth to our son and our daughter. Our daughter now being 10 and our son 7. A year after we broke up my son was 1 and my daughter almost 4 year old. My daughter was born with heart and lung disease and had loads of operations. Sadly she passed away just after we had broken up. Didn't pull through from open heart surgery. Since then me and my ex have moved on, 5 years ago she lost our son with out me being there and she handed residency through social services to her family. I never even got notified on this. Anyway after years of fighting in court they gave me permission through a court order to see my son once a week. Now everything was going fine until 7 months ago. Her family decided to move away with our son to the other side of the country. I have been having financial difficulty of late so finding this really hard I was used to seeing him every week. Now I haven't seen him in 5 months including Christmas. Any advice would be appreciated I miss him so much!

Our Response:
I am so sorry to hear this.Theoretically, your ex's family had no right to move away with your child without your consent (if you have parental responsibility). However, you would need to seek legal advice regarding this to see whether you had a case to force a return of your son to the area. Unless, your ex's family are preventing you from seeing your child, I'm afraid there is nothing a court can do if you are having financial difficulty and can't get to see your son. If you are paying child maintenance, then you may be able to apply for a special expenses variation, please see CAB link here. If your ex parents are preventing access then they are in breach of the court order, so please see link here . If you cannot afford legal fees, you can self-litigate and you may also get a reduction in court fees if you are on a low income. Our Separated Dads forum may also help you with further advice, if needed. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 5-Jan-17 @ 11:41 AM
Me and my ex were together for 8 year. In that time she gave birth to our son and our daughter. Our daughter now being 10 and our son 7. A year after we broke up my son was 1 and my daughter almost 4 year old. My daughter was born with heart and lung disease and had loads of operations. Sadly she passed away just after we had broken up. Didn't pull through from open heart surgery. Since then me and my ex have moved on, 5 years ago she lost our son with out me being there and she handed residency through social services to her family. I never even got notified on this. Anyway after years of fighting in court they gave me permission through a court order to see my son once a week. Now everything was going fine until 7 months ago. Her family decided to move away with our son to the other side of the country. I have been having financial difficulty of late so finding this really hard I was used to seeing him every week. Now I haven't seen him in 5 months including Christmas. Any advice would be appreciated I miss him so much!
Jayjay20101 - 4-Jan-17 @ 12:27 PM
Dad misses daughter - Your Question:
My daughter is 3 my ex has been on and off letting me see her, for silly reasons, I used to do everything she said but it wasn't enough, I had car trouble on the way down to see my daughter once was going to take me an hour for the Rac had proof still didn't believe me said I was doing other things. It has now been six months at least since I have seen my daughter and it's becoming unbearable I'm trying to ask to go to a contact centre now as I think its best if me and my ex don't see each other as she is just vile and spiteful to me even though she was terrible and has done unbelievable things and I've put that behind me but after finding out she wouldn't give my daughter her Christmas presents from me and my parents it broke my heart how disgusting of a person does that

Our Response:
I am very sorry to hear this. If your ex refuses you access to your child, then you would have to suggest mediation in the first place. If she refuses, consider taking the matter to court.
SeparatedDads - 4-Jan-17 @ 12:03 PM
My daughter is 3 my ex has been on and off letting me see her,for silly reasons, I used to do everything she said but it wasn't enough,I had car trouble on the way down to see my daughter once was going to take me an hour for the Rac had proof still didn't believe me said I was doing other things. It has now been six months at least since I have seen my daughter and it's becoming unbearable I'm trying to ask to go to a contact centre now as I think its best if me and my ex don't see each other as she is just vile and spiteful to me even though she was terrible and has done unbelievable things and I've put that behind me but after finding out she wouldn't give my daughter her Christmas presents from me and my parents it broke my heart how disgusting of a person does that
Dad misses daughter - 3-Jan-17 @ 3:07 PM
Hi i was with my ex for 13 years and had 4 children together we split over 2 years ago she now has a new partner but i havent seen them since october 2016 all because she is demanding i do what she says woth them i have a new partner and have another baby on tje way my ex has been nothing but abusive through text about me and my mew partner shes now turned them agaisnt me and my new partner also shea blocked me from all there phones so i cant contact them shes also telling them i dont love them and got one of my children calling her new partner dad she also say ing she is moving and not telling me were she is going with them my name is on the b/c does she have any or all the rigts to do that any help would be greatfull
Kev - 1-Jan-17 @ 12:45 PM
I have a new born , no longer together with Childs dad... Refusing to provided and also see our child can he be forced via court to see our son... He has regular contact with his other son so I don't see why he is being this way with our child?
Help needsd - 30-Dec-16 @ 8:37 AM
I have a child with my x husband court order is place everything has been fine for years. He has has a handful of new painters along the way never been an issue untill this new one. My little one has stated that his new partner has hit her. I have tried to resolve this and stated until it's sorted I do not want my child around her. He has stated she never hit out child but I see it as why would my little one lie. Though the solicitors I agreed for contact to ressume but for her not to be present in the time he spend with our little one he agreed but this didn't happen as she came home stating she has seen her. Also she had promised that it was their little secret she would never hit her again!! He is a good day always has been but I feel my hands are tied!! She misses her dad and am sure he misses her also. As things are now I think it's a case we will just go back to court as he has stated but I don't want to get i. To trouble for going agaist court order that is in place ,, and most importantly allow my child to be around her when she has told me what she has done to my baby!! Am I within my rights to have stopped contact ... What can I do to sort this?? I am not trying to dictate to him as i know his partner isn't going anywhere but I honestly feel strongly agaist our little one going to their house because of what she has done ... Please help thanks
Help eeded - 30-Dec-16 @ 8:35 AM
Help I was recently in a relationship with a woman that resulted in her just finding out she's pregnant we were over the moon. The pregnancy is only about 8 weeks. Then on Boxing Day it turned sour and I was kicked out. I'm want parental responsibility for my future child but the she is threatening to move away and deny me as being the father putting it down as a one night stand that she can't remember (this wasn't the case) my questions are these: what can I do? I want to be involved in my child's life all the way how can I secure this? I want to provide everything I can how can I get her to do this? Please advise how I can be part of my child's life?
Dinga213 - 29-Dec-16 @ 12:46 AM
A few months ago me and my ex split, she moved down country taking our son with him, since then I've seen him once for a period of 2 weeks, during this time we argued and threw it in my face that she was going to visit for his first Christmas but now she's changed her mind and she maintained that stance even a month later over one small argument, I'm unable to visit them as with travel and a place to stay it is just too expensive to be a viable option and her family despise me (if she comes here I can pay for the travel and she can stay with me) any time I brought it up she threw it in my face about how i'm the one that messed it up for myself, I was certainly no innocent, but to keep me out of my child's life simply because her parents (where she lives atm) don't like me? It's pathetic and when I mention that I have exactly the same rights as she does in this even though we aren't married she throws my mental health at me, which isn't perfect but it by no way has or will impact on my ability to look after my son. What rights do I have here? First in that it's her parents playing part in preventing me from seeing my boy and second how she is just so easily using him as a weapon against me, I'd rather not take her to court but the fact she's already stopped me from seeing him once over a petty argument terrifies me that she could just easily cut access off entirely should she see fit to do so, thanks.
Troubled - 28-Dec-16 @ 11:59 PM
Me and my partner split 5month ago and everything was fine between us until she started seeing someone new. I saw my 1yr old daughter for Christmas yesterday and when I dropped her off at her mams house, an argument ensued. I had only asked if she was going out tonight and she kicked off saying it had nothing to do with me etc and that she going to her new boyfriends and I said I hoped the child wouldn't be there as he smoks drugs, and I started getting hustled out of the door and obviously I was agitated and make the mistake of opening my mouth saying I'd kill him if he done that around my child. But now she has said I can never see my daughter again and has blocked my number so I cannot get in contact with her, and is using what I said against me saying my daughter is in danger etc etc and I don't believe this is happening and I don't know what to do!
Leecal88 - 27-Dec-16 @ 12:23 PM
Hi My youngest is over 3 years old and her dad stopped seeing her when she was 3 months he's on the birth certificate. My question is can I get his rights taken away? Thank you
My of 2 - 26-Dec-16 @ 7:42 PM
Lilly - Your Question:
Hi there I need some advice me and a friend become very close which resulting me becoming pregnant when I tried to contract him he blocked me from everything I wrote him a letter say I was pregnant but he never reply my question is since then we are 5 years on and this is eating me up in side and want to sort this out once and of all. he isn't on the birth certificate but I want to know does he have to pay some sort of money to my child and if so does he have to see him this is my biggest worry he starts to pay and then all of a sudden he want to see him and have him over night ect I just wanna know where I stand thanks only a handful of my friends know he is the father. he hasnt told anyone he has a son and if anyone has asked him he says my son isn't his which is very hurtful

Our Response:
You can apply for child maintenance as every father is legally responsible to help financially support their child. If your child's father has not seen your child in five years, he would have to take the matter to court of he wanted to apply access, if you refused to consider it. We cannot predict what a court may decide, as we cannot predict whether your child's father will wish to take the matter to court. However, access and child maintenance are not dependent upon each other, meaning your ex may still have to pay (if he is earning) regardless of whether he sees your/his child or not. You can see more via the CMS link here.
SeparatedDads - 23-Dec-16 @ 11:29 AM
Hi there I need some advice me and a friend become very close which resulting me becoming pregnant when I tried to contract him he blocked me from everything I wrote him a letter say I was pregnant but he never reply my question is since then we are 5 years on and this is eating me up in side and want to sort this out once and of all ... he isn't on the birth certificate but I want to know does he have to pay some sort of money to my child and if so does he have to see him this is my biggest worry he starts to pay and then all of a sudden he want to see him and have him over night ect I just wanna know where I stand thanks only a handful of my friends know he is the father .. he hasnt told anyone he has a son and if anyone has asked him he says my son isn't his which is very hurtful
Lilly - 22-Dec-16 @ 8:30 PM
Single mom - Your Question:
Hi I have 2 girls been to court and settled on money for them but he hasn't paid in months! He will call out of the blue once a month at anytime of the day and hurdle abuse I have never stopped him seen the girls but I have asked he jus ring to arrange a time before hand! He never does! But the girls are unsure around him as they don't know what mood he will be in! I don't no what I can do

Our Response:
If your ex has not paid child maintenenance and there is a court order, then you can apply to have the order enforced, please see link: Breach of Contact or Residence Order: What to Do, here. Regarding child access, if you cannot agree between you when access should be and there is no court order in place, then mediation may be an option, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 20-Dec-16 @ 2:08 PM
paul - Your Question:
Hello. I have 2 children both me and my ex has parentel responsibility I see my children from thursday till saturday afternoon iam wanting too see them more. My ex has a new job working wednesday nites and every 3rd sunday I have suggjested my children come stay with me. however see seems to be letting her parents have them before me is this leagal? Thanks

Our Response:
There are no specific rules of who should have the children and when, unless there is a court order in place. If you cannot resolve the issue between you and your ex, I advise you consider mediation in order to try to come to a resolution, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 20-Dec-16 @ 12:47 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SeparatedDads website. Please read our Disclaimer.