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Do You Know Your Rights as a Father?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 22 Mar 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.

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Is there any advice on dealing with an ex spouse with Narcassistic Personality Disorder? Are British Family courts educated on the subject? How do I protect my kids from becoming victims of her abuse? Has anybody else had any dealings or experience with somebody they suspect suffers with this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. thanks.
Dave - 22-Mar-17 @ 9:18 PM
I have a 6 year old child who lives with my ex girlfriend. She lives with her, but I have her one day a week and pay maintenace for her monthly. I am on her birth certificate. My ex is getting married in a month and she wants to change my daughters surname to her husband to bes surname. She has said she can do this without my consent at the school, doctors etc. Is this true? I do not want my daughter to take his name as I have an active role in her life and I always have.
jlee87 - 22-Mar-17 @ 2:34 PM
i have just separated from my partner of 14 years ( engaged not married )..we have 4 kids ages 11,5,3, and 1 ...she cheated on me for 3 weeks with someone else..then took the 4 kids and left , got an injuction order keeping me away from her and the kids as I have been violent towards her new partner !! I have came home and caught them both in my kitchen in my house drinking tea as if it were nothing I chased him out the house ..is that violent behaviour?...anyway I got court now because he says I slashed his tyres on his car with a knife and now he is suing for criminal damages !!...what a lot of crap but as it is their words against mine I am being charged with criminal damage with a knife ..it is awful to have to go through this I wouldn't wish it on anyone
frankie - 21-Mar-17 @ 10:41 PM
matt - Your Question:
Hi can anyone help with this one my ex drinks alot and even around my son. My name is on the birth certificate. Can I take my son to live with me or not? How do I get full custody off my son as I don't have the money for a solicitor.

Our Response:
As with the comment below; please see link: What Happens If My Ex Keeps the Children Without My Consent? here. If you have parental responsibility, you have the right to keep your child if you fear for their safety. However, please be aware, this is never an ideal scenario, as you have to think of the long term repercussions if your ex decides to try to get your child back via court. Therefore, legal advice is always recommended in situations such as this. The recommended route is to always apply through the courts. If you cannot afford legal representation, you can self-litigate - please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 21-Mar-17 @ 12:16 PM
Ragnar - Your Question:
My marriage ended last year and since then I have found out that my ex has been leaving the kids home alone. 2 boys under 10 and my daughter who is 16 but with a meantle age of about 12. My problem is, is that I don't want the SS involved but I want the kids to live with me. What are my rights if I remove the kids from there home and move them to mine?

Our Response:
Please see link: What Happens If My Ex Keeps the Children Without My Consent? here. If you have parental responsibility, you have the right to keep the children if you fear for their safety. However, please be aware, this is never an ideal scenario, as you have to think of the long term repercussions if your ex decides to try to have the children returned to her via court. Therefore, legal advice is always highly recommended in situations such as this and prior to taking any action.
SeparatedDads - 21-Mar-17 @ 12:09 PM
Hi can anyone help with this one my ex drinks alot and even around my son. My name is on the birth certificate. Can I take my son to live with me or not? How do I get full custody off my son as I don't have the money for a solicitor.
matt - 20-Mar-17 @ 4:10 PM
My marriage ended last year and since then i have found out that my ex has been leaving the kids home alone. 2 boys under 10 and my daughter who is 16 but with a meantle age of about 12. My problem is, is that i don't want the SS involved but i want the kids to live with me. What are my rights if i remove the kids from there home and move them to mine?
Ragnar - 20-Mar-17 @ 4:00 PM
I want to be a fathe - Your Question:
Hi my ex partner has had mental health issues. We split before our child was born. I pay csa my name is not on birth certificate. It's on going that I can see my child then I can't it's mental torture. My family are allowed regular contact but I'm not. It's destroying me and hurting my family. I'm on a low income and can afford solicitors. Do I have any rights as a father. Does anyone have any advice please. My child is 1 soon I'm missing to much!!

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You can self-litigate, please see link here and if you are on a low income your court costs may be waived or reduced, please see link here. You can apply for a child arrangement order and parental responsibility, please see link here and here. Before you apply for court mediation is the first option you should suggest to your ex, please see link here. If your ex refuses, then it will be open for you to apply to court. If/once a court order is put in place, then your ex will have to stick to the terms of it. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 10-Mar-17 @ 11:34 AM
Hi my ex partner has had mental health issues. We split before our child was born. I pay csa my name is not on birth certificate. It's on going that I can see my child then I can't it's mental torture. My family are allowed regular contact but I'm not. It's destroying me and hurting my family. I'm on a low income and can afford solicitors. Do I have any rights as a father. Does anyone have any advice please. My child is 1 soon I'm missing to much!!
I want to be a fathe - 9-Mar-17 @ 9:39 AM
Do I have a right to know my child's fathers address for when she is staying with him to visit
Missld - 8-Mar-17 @ 6:30 PM
Tc - Your Question:
The mother of my child lost custody of our kid to her ex husband for drug use. All of this happened without my knowledge and I have no idea where she is. Im still being forced to pay her child support which is fraud. What rights do I have since I have went to court with her to prove by dna im the father and her ex husband is nothing to my daughter. I have called the child support office to let them know she doesnt have custody and they told me they would look into it but have herd nothing back. I cant afford a lawyer so now im stuck please help.

Our Response:
This is a tricky question to answer, as you don't say whether this was recently or a long time ago. Or whether you have access to your child etc. But, I will try to answer it the best I can. If you cannot afford legal fees to take the matter to court, you can self litigate, please see link here. If you wish to trace your child in order to bring the matter to court, then along with your child arrangement order (please see link here), you would have to fill in a C4 form which is an application for the disclosure of the whereabouts of a child. If you are on a low income you should get a reduction in court fees and you may be able to get some free advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau. If you haven't heard back from CMS, please see link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 6-Mar-17 @ 12:22 PM
The mother of my child lost custody of our kid to her ex husband for drug use. All of this happened without my knowledge and i have no idea where she is. Im still being forced to pay her child support which is fraud. What rights do i have since i have went to court with her to prove by dna im the father and her ex husband is nothing to my daughter. I have called the child support office to let them know she doesnt have custody and they told me they would look into it but have herd nothing back. I cant afford a lawyer so now im stuck please help.
Tc - 5-Mar-17 @ 2:42 PM
My ex won't let me see my daughter i lived with her till 2 years ago my ex said my daughter don't want to see me but i no that's a lie .i went to the her house but she rang the police
Daz - 3-Mar-17 @ 1:03 PM
This is a big Story so please strap in...... Right my ex got pregnant on purpose so i would never leave her, My daughter was born on 03/03/03 i was not allowed at the birth ? i was not allowed to be with my daughter on my own ? very strange all round as i am an amazing guy i think and i would of been the best, caring, generous, loving father my little girl could ever have wanted, My ex ran off with one of my so called friends 9 months into my daughters life and i was no longer allowed to see her. My ex and her mental family told the CSA they did not know who the father was and it was a one night stand in a nightclub, They also refused to put me on the birth certificate. This had a massive effect on my life, depression, suicidal thoughts, drugs and alcohol problems, my mom passed away when i was 13 and it left a massive hole in my heart that my daughter filled then when this happened it was like being hit by a freight train of grief. So 14 years later i have once and for all sorted myself out, I have invented something that is going to be sold for a considerable amount of money and i mean multiple millions, I plan to open a bank account for my little girl and put enough money in there to protect her for her whole life, But i know her mother and horrible grand parents will try and hit me for money and i do not want them to get a penny. See i wanted to contribute, i tried, i send cards, presents, letters all of which were returned, I tried to go to court spent thousands on letters but fact was i couldnt get any form of access unless her mother agreed and well you know how that goes. So i was just wondering where the CSA would stand on this ? my daughter can have the lot, she has always been the first thing i think of when i wake up and the last thing i think of when i go to bed, then i dream of her its like an emotional prison of which i have no escape. But i dont want her family to get anything, because they dont deserve it. there is a lot more to this story, my ex dad was a angry, violent alcoholic, he held me down in the back room when the CSA came round and told me not to move, he told me and laughed in my face when he done it that they are not putting me on the birth certificate because if they dont i have no rights proper horrible people so anyway anyone that may know how this works id be very appreciative
Confused Guy - 2-Mar-17 @ 10:09 AM
My son was living abroad quite nicely. Then my wife decided to migrate for some silly reason. She not consult me what she was doing. She been travelling in very dangerous road and she cross the sea where 100 % death was there. I been beging her not to take this decision. But she never listen. Now after a year we managed to be together. And. Now we have another daughter together. Because her Previous non sense I feel that I want to make safe my children so that she don't play with our kids life. I want a proper advise we live together but I don't feel that my children are safe. Thanks
Nk - 1-Mar-17 @ 2:02 AM
As far as I'm concerned, if the mum wants to make her own conscious decision to raise the child by herself and now allow the dad to be a part of the kids life, then the mum should take all the responsibility for raising the kid financially. And if the father still wants to see the kid and is being refused access to see them then the law should act in favour of the father to allow them to see them unless the woman has a good reason to stop them. Unfortunately this currently isn't the case, but it bloody should be! In an age know for equality, in this matter men have absolutely no equality.
Cris - 28-Feb-17 @ 1:29 AM
Stresseddad86 - Your Question:
Hiya, my ex and I split contact 50/50 from splitting when my daughter was three due to an affair on her part. She has now got my daughter calling her fella daddy. Is there anything I can do to stop this ?

Our Response:
There is little you can do to stop your ex doing this. However, you are the father and if you have contact with your daughter, then your daughter will know you are her real dad. A name is just a name, it is the close relationship with your child that is the most important factor here.
SeparatedDads - 27-Feb-17 @ 12:17 PM
Hiya, my ex and I split contact 50/50 from splitting when my daughter was three due to an affair on her part. She has now got my daughter calling her fella daddy. Is there anything I can do to stop this ?
Stresseddad86 - 26-Feb-17 @ 5:15 PM
Me and my gf just split up and I've decided to go to citizens advice she has said she's going to stop me taking her to my parents, this is the main reason we've split up due to the controlling over this I tryed to commit suiceide so I have agreed to go to counciling however she has still told me I won't be aloud to go there this is why it's going to the next step does she have a right to contol me on my time
alan gascoigne - 25-Feb-17 @ 6:18 PM
I'm a young father at the age of 21, my daughter is now 15 months old and I split up with the mother when she was 5 months old. I have the my daughter for 2 nights on a Thursday and Friday and keep her all day Saturday.I also have her for tea on a Tuesday. I pay for my child every week and also pay for nursery, I have started seeing a girl for the last 6 months who I have became close to. I want to introduce her to my daughter but the mother of my child will not let this happen as she does not like this girl. She keeps threatening me with seeing my daughter if my child is introduced with her. My girlfriend works with children in a nursery, can someone please help and tell me what my rights are? Can she actually not let my girlfriend see my daughter.
Mj15 - 24-Feb-17 @ 5:47 PM
Dazza - Your Question:
Hi me and my ex spilt up 8 years ago I took her to court and got a court order I was having my son every other weekend and every Wednesday after school in 2013 she moved my son miles away and stopped me seeing him she has recently moved back to my area and is still stopping me from seeing our son is there anything I can do as is hurting both me and my son living in same block of flats with 2 floors between us

Our Response:
If there is a court order in place then you can apply to have the order enforced, please see link here . Given the time lapse since the order and the fact you never took the matter back to court may mean another order would have to be drawn up. However, theoretically the order still stands.
SeparatedDads - 24-Feb-17 @ 11:27 AM
Kibz - Your Question:
My ex partner has just had my baby and is refusing me contact a said I'm not going on the birth certificate. She has been put on child protection even before the birth off my child what would I do

Our Response:
As with the comment below, if you want your name added to your child's birth certificate and/or Parental Responsibility of your child, you would have to take the matter to court. A Parental Responsibility Order is an order under the Children Act 1989, which unmarried fathers can apply for when the mother refuses to allow the father to be registered or re-registered on the birth certificate, or refuses to sign a PR agreement with him. Please see link here. At the same time you can also apply for contact of your child via a C100 form, or if you gain PR, residency of your child if there is a threat of your child being taken into care.
SeparatedDads - 24-Feb-17 @ 11:15 AM
Mrunlucky- Your Question:
My ex partner is now 19 weeks at pregnant. She told me at 5 weeks about the baby and straight away went cold with me and ended things, she has cut all communication and I had to ask her for a DNA test to be completed. She refused but insisted the baby is mine. I haven't heard from her in nearly 2 months now and I have my doubts but I need to know for sure because I'd want to be there for the child. could anyone help me with any advice or tell me where I stand please?

Our Response:
If you wish to find out if you are the father because you are in doubt and your ex is refusing, once your child is born you would have to take the matter to court to request a paternity test, please see link here. You can also fill in a C100 contact order if the test proves you are the father and you want to apply for access to see your child.
SeparatedDads - 24-Feb-17 @ 10:51 AM
Jonny - Your Question:
I have a DNA test showing I am the father. The mother refuses to put me on the birth certificate?Where do I stand?

Our Response:
You would have to take the matter to court and apply for parental responsibility, please see link here. You may wish to seek legal advice regarding this.
SeparatedDads - 24-Feb-17 @ 10:21 AM
Jonny - Your Question:
I have taken a DNA test and I am the father. The mother refuses to put me on the birth certificate. Where do I stand

Our Response:
If you want your name added to your child's birth certificate and/or Parental Responsibility of your child, you would have to take the matter to court. A Parental Responsibility Order is an order under the Children Act 1989, which unmarried fathers can apply for when the mother refuses to allow the father to be registered or re-registered on the birth certificate, or refuses to sign a PR agreement with him. Please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 23-Feb-17 @ 2:34 PM
Hi me and my ex spilt up 8 years ago I took her to court and got a court order I was having my son every other weekend and every Wednesday after school in 2013 she moved my son miles away and stopped me seeing him she has recently moved back to my area and is still stopping me from seeing our son is there anything I can do as is hurting both me and my son living in same block of flats with 2 floors between us
Dazza - 23-Feb-17 @ 12:40 PM
My ex partner has just had my baby and is refusing me contact a said I'm not going on the birth certificate. She has been put on child protection even before the birth off my child what would I do
Kibz - 23-Feb-17 @ 10:44 AM
My ex partner is now 19 weeks at pregnant. She told me at 5 weeks about the baby and straight away went cold with me and ended things, she has cut all communication and I had to ask her for a DNA test to be completed. She refused but insisted the baby is mine.. i haven't heard from her in nearly 2 months now and I have my doubts but I need to know for sure because I'd want to be there for the child.. could anyone help me with any advice or tell me where I stand please?
Mrunlucky - 23-Feb-17 @ 10:08 AM
I have taken a DNA test and I am the father. The mother refuses to put me on the birth certificate. Where do I stand
Jonny - 23-Feb-17 @ 6:31 AM
I have a DNA test showing I am the father. The mother refuses to put me on the birth certificate? Where do I stand?
Jonny - 23-Feb-17 @ 6:26 AM
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