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Do You Know Your Rights as a Father?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 15 Oct 2018 | 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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Like to add that she wants to live in North America which he was planning to do at the time when they were together.It was a difficult separation but she hasn't got into any issues with him. He also has older child that he hasn't seen that lives in Europe.
Sal - 15-Oct-18 @ 3:14 AM
I should have explained this properly.The father hasn't seen his child since the separation. He pays child support but hasn't asked to see the baby.The mother would like to leave the country to be with family in North America which the father knows about.Can he stop her taking the child out of the country even though he hasn't made an effort to see the child. She hasn't stopped him from seeing his baby which he hasn't seen for over 6 months and he lives only 15 minutes away from his ex
Sal - 15-Oct-18 @ 3:10 AM
@sal.from a legal point of view there is nothing you can do .all you could do is get child support .there is not a court in the country that will make a father see he's child if it is against he wishes .best thing in situations like this is both walk away and get on with your own life and start another family or do whatever makes you happy life is to short to be fighting with a x .EVERYBODY NEEDS TO MOVE THE F ON .
chris laurie - 13-Oct-18 @ 8:56 PM
What if the father doesn't want to see his child. It's all about the fathers that wants to be involved yet there's fathers who doesn't want to see their kid.What's the conditions with that?
Sal - 13-Oct-18 @ 8:59 AM
Yeah I no my rights as a father never wanted to waste my money on solicitor to busy living my life .as for my x I will never talk to (her again )and don’t appreciate her (stalking me )I catch her again it will (be on )I have a lot of (past aggression) for her so she better( start to think )this no game .i will live my life the way I want if I want to live in a share house for the rest of my life I will if I want to move to Darwin For a good job at Christmas I will I answer to nobody .she has to realise she has (no control) what so ever over me I have zero interest in her family I am (not going legal) .she wants to make threats about making calm do it don’t threaten it clown .she needs a guy like my uncle (go stalk him )he would love it and most likely build her a big house .she needs to realise something because I wasn’t the most articulate guy back then the day she left she that was it .there is no going back I didn’t and still don’t want my daughter she has no cards in her deck I laugh at the clown .it feels like she thinks she has something I want ha ha ha .
Sam - 1-Oct-18 @ 12:53 AM
my son parted from the mother of his child when his daughter was 9mths old. he is 25 now has adhdand she is 33. they had problems in the past but he has always paid for his daughter although as he worked for agencies he always seemed to be on catch up with payments due to the unstability of work. he was having her every other weekend and a wednesday overnight....they rowed one night as his ex went to child maintenance so she could get money every week....he was annoyed and regretably said he wouldnt see his daughter.....they rowed again when she came to pick their daughter up. he apologised the next day but she refused to let him see her from that day. i as her grandmother have been allowed to see her but nit allowed to have her at my house oe overnight whoch i have previously. how do we resolve this. shes has said shes going to solicitors. surely she cannot stop access over this.....she is bringing up past issues but that is nearly two years since they spilt and shes never stopped him access so how can she now say hes not fit / worthy to be her dad over a row where he commented in the heat of the moment. whete do we stand
Philly - 30-Sep-18 @ 11:08 PM
My ex wife as all of sudden asstopped me from talkingto our kids we had a mutual agreement that I rang Tuesday Thursday and Sunday night's and now all contact has stopped I do not even know if they are ok what is my legal rights on this issue
Marco - 27-Sep-18 @ 5:50 PM
My partner's ex wife is suddenly refusing him overnight stays with his daughters (5 and 10). They don't have a court order but have had an agreement in place for the past two years that he has them every other weekend. He suffers from depression and she is quoting concern over this as a reason for denying overnight stays. In reality, she has control issues and has been looking for any reason to gain control over his time with his daughters. Firstly, can she use depression as a legitimate reason? There is no evidence of neglect or abuse... Secondly, he has concerns that when he goes to collect them for the weekend stay, she will have placed them with a friend and won't let him take them at all. Would he be able to call the police in this situation? What could he do?
Rebrief - 26-Sep-18 @ 3:44 PM
Me and my ex have shared custody of the 2 children. In a 8 day cycle i have them 4 days and 4 nights and she has them 4 days and 4 nights. She has booked to go away without the children on her 4 days, not the first time, she planning for her parents to have them. I want them but she's insisting they go to her parents. Surely if I want them to come to me they should. Where do I stand?
Masmouth - 23-Sep-18 @ 8:14 PM
Hi my ex and I hsve no legal contractregardscosting our children. I have them twice in the week and all weekend every other weekend. I want to spend more time with them and take them away but she says no ,witho reasons. Where do i stand if I just take them and go againsther commands
Si1 - 23-Sep-18 @ 11:14 AM
Mac - Your Question:
I have been separated over five years and now because of an argument my boys aged 12 & 10 have decided to stay with there mum and don’t want to come home ? What can I do ? They refuse to talk text or answer my calls

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. The link here , should help answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 21-Sep-18 @ 3:08 PM
Frustrated - Your Question:
My daughter has been living with us on her request for 3months now and is enrolled and attending both school and piano lessons. She states she wants to be here and is almost 16yrs old.The ex has informed my daughter if she doesnt take the exact high school courses her mother wants she will enforce that she can no longer live with me. Is this legal?

Our Response:
If you have parental responsibility of your daughter, then you have as much right to care for your child as the mother. If you cannot agree upon where your daughter should live, please see the link here . If you refuse to give in to your ex's demands and she decides to take the matter to court, then as your daughter is now 16 the court will take her opinion into account. Likewise, if your daughter is living with you and is happy and contented, then it is unlikely the court would rule to move her. However, as in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
SeparatedDads - 21-Sep-18 @ 1:47 PM
boo - Your Question:
Hi. asking for advice for a relative. He has a 10 year old son with his wife (son born before they married) have been separated 2 and a half years now and she has stopped all contact because he has started seeing someone else! and she cannot control him. where does he go from here? he is paying maintenance that they agreed on. confused as to where to go from here

Our Response:
The link here , should help answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 21-Sep-18 @ 12:06 PM
I have been separated over five years and now because of an argument my boys aged 12 & 10 have decided to stay with there mum and don’t want to come home ? What can I do ? They refuse to talk text or answer my calls
Mac - 21-Sep-18 @ 12:16 AM
Hi. asking for advice for a relative. He has a 10 year old son with his wife (son born before they married) have been separated 2 and a half years now and she has stopped all contact because he has started seeing someone else! and she cannot control him. where does he go from here? he is paying maintenance that they agreed on. confused as to where to go from here
boo - 20-Sep-18 @ 7:28 PM
My daughter has been living with us on her request for 3months now and is enrolled and attending both school and piano lessons. She states she wants to be here and is almost 16yrs old. The ex has informed my daughter if she doesnt take the exact high school courses her mother wants she will enforce that she can no longer live with me. Is this legal?
Frustrated - 20-Sep-18 @ 4:44 PM
So I have been separated from the mother of my 7yr old (now) daughter for over 2 and half years. We both have PR and we were successfully managing alternate residence week and a week and whilst going from 100% contact to 50% isn’t great, I think we were proving the rule of thinking that children should spend regular and equal time if possible with both parents; our daughter was fine. Better than fine. Thriving and loving life. This year my ex told me she wanted to move away and she wanted to take our daughter with her - ending any possibility of alternate residence. I refused. She was following her new boyfriend to his new preferred location so her reasons were self serving and not strong enough to provoke such an upheaval in all our lives. She spent the summer in the new location with our daughter (on her weeks) Anyway, to cut a long story short, my ex applied to the court for permission and we have a date for a hearing in the next 3 months. In the meantime she tried to move away in secret and registered her for a new school without my knowledge and without my consent. Luckily I was able to stop the registration and now our daughter lives with me (until the judgment). Because her mum has not moved back into the area. It is not an ideal situation and certainly not one for celebration. Children should spend equal time with both parents so now I am trying to find ways to get our daughter to see her mother more, without totally giving up on my contact. The thing is, despite the weak reasons for moving away, my ex has not responded well. She prefers to stay where she is which I can see is putting a massive strain on our 7yr old; not seeing her mum. I think she is banking on our daughter missing her so much that I have to relent. It’s working. I have no idea what to do. I can see how much this is hurting our daughter. Every other weekend and half holidays is not enough contact with either parent. I suggested that my ex comes to see her effectively on my weekends which she has refused. This last weekend she preferred to spend the time riding her bike (both days...thanks Strava) and paddle boarding. It seems to me that this mentality is difficult to manage and is ultimately upsetting our daughter. I had to tell our daughter that her mum couldn’t make it but that she wanted to. What else could I say “your mum is so selfish that she would prefer to ride her bike”? Unless its on her terms, my ex will gamble, using our daughter as she goes. I trawl the websites for help but my situation is unusual. Look up Narcissitic Personality disorder and you will get a feel for what its like to try and negotiate with my ex. Any help or pointers greatly appreciated.
Steve - 20-Sep-18 @ 4:42 AM
I need to know what sort of questions can I ask as the court has put my 2girls for adoption but I’m allowed to see them once a year and send a letter to them too now getting ask to write some questions down for the social worker to give to the adoption family and they have to do the same for me but I am stuck on what questions to ask can anyone help please
Pop - 19-Sep-18 @ 11:22 AM
Kieran- Your Question:
I’ve recently spilt up with my ex we have a 7 month son.I’ve been a very hands on dad never went out always wanted to stay in sign my boy she was the one going out etc. We’ve spilt up for about a month and a half I’ve had him every weekend since but nw she’s obviously getting bored at the weekends she wants to have him one weekend a month limiting me to only seeing him 6-7 days a month where she will have him for the other 24. I’m considering going down the courts roads so I can have him every weekend so what are my chances , anI just wasting my time and just deal with not being able to see him as much ?

Our Response:
Before you take the court route, you would have to seek mediation in order to try to come to a mutual arrangement, please see the link here.
SeparatedDads - 13-Sep-18 @ 12:39 PM
I’ve recently spilt up with my ex we have a 7 month son.I’ve been a very hands on dad never went out always wanted to stay in sign my boy she was the one going out etc. We’ve spilt up for about a month and a half I’ve had him every weekend since but nw she’s obviously getting bored at the weekends she wants to have him one weekend a month limiting me to only seeing him 6-7 days a month where she will have him for the other 24. I’m considering going down the courts roads so I can have him every weekend so what are my chances , anI just wasting my time and just deal with not being able to see him as much ?
Kieran - 11-Sep-18 @ 8:58 PM
My partner and me recently separated and she is pregnant with my child. We don't live together as she lives on her own and she suffers with aspergers and mental health. She has been known to use illegal drugs, alcohol and a long history of self harming. Now we are no longer together she is refusing to put my name on the birth certificate or let me know any details about my child. She is currently 22 weeks. I am worried about my baby and especially once it's been born due to his safety and welfare. She doesn't want me to have any contact with him apart from a couple of hours each week at her home which I am not happy with and she keeps changing her mind. Could you give me any advice where I can go from here how I gain access to my baby once it's born?
Jocoll - 10-Sep-18 @ 10:57 PM
Hi, could someone help me with advice. I have split with my partner and have two little boys of which she has now changed her number, won't let me see them or won't even respond to my messages to see if my boys are okay. What should I do? What advice should I seek etc? Do I have the right to collect my boys from nursary to check there okay or what thanks any info would be appreciated, we were not married but I am on both birth certificates thanks
Dan - 10-Sep-18 @ 8:44 PM
Rico - Your Question:
Hello, my brother has a one year old son with a girl he's not married to, and a child on the way. He has decided he wants to be there for the children but doesn't want to be with the parent of his child anymore. He has moved on with another girl and now his ex is stopping him from taking the child out on his own and stopping his side of the family from seeing the child. What rights has he got and his family.

Our Response:
The link here should tell you all you need to know.
SeparatedDads - 10-Sep-18 @ 11:21 AM
Hello, my brother has a one year old son with a girl he's not married to, and a child on the way... He has decided he wants to be there for the children but doesn't want to be with the parent of his child anymore... He has moved on with another girl and now his ex is stopping him from taking the child out on his own and stopping his side of the family from seeing the child. What rights has he got and his family.
Rico - 8-Sep-18 @ 3:40 PM
Fayzy - Your Question:
My husband and I separated 3 months ago he has recently moved into a new flat and refuses to give me the address where he takes my children to Is this legal they are 12 & 14 years old

Our Response:
Your husband is under no obligation to reveal his address if he wishes to keep it private. If you feel strongly about this, then you would have to suggest mediation or (if he refuses) refer the matter to court under a Specific Issue Order. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the children in question. The court will always put the children’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
SeparatedDads - 7-Sep-18 @ 10:51 AM
My husband and I separated 3 months ago he has recently moved into a new flat and refuses to give me the address where he takes my children to Is this legal they are 12 & 14 years old
Fayzy - 6-Sep-18 @ 2:08 PM
I am a farther to a 5 year old boy. I am not with his mother and haven't been since she was about 3 to 4 months pregnant. Things have been going well but I recently had to move in with my Dad and she's being funny about me taking him there. I see my boy at my Mums house. Her reason is that my Dads dog is a threat. Yes he is a hyper dog but I would never let the dog near my boy or any child for that matter. The dog is locked outside so there is no way for them to come into contact. She has said she wants the dog tested by a professional to whether or not the dog is a threat and she wants proof on paper. I am unwilling to do that and so is my Dad as the dog is locked outside. I'm not sure how to go about this or if she has any right what so ever stopping me from bring my son to my home. Any advice welcome.
Adam - 3-Sep-18 @ 7:05 PM
None - Your Question:
What if mother doesnt put name on.birth certificate and simply tells me to buggar off?

Our Response:
You would have to apply to court. Please see the link here .
SeparatedDads - 3-Sep-18 @ 11:45 AM
What if mother doesnt put name on.birth certificate and simply tells me to buggar off?
None - 2-Sep-18 @ 12:13 PM
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