Home > Legal > Your Right to Be Kept Informed About Your Child: A Guide

Your Right to Be Kept Informed About Your Child: A Guide

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 19 May 2018 |
 
Fathers Parental Responsibility Schools

As a committed father, you want to know all about the important things in your child’s life, particularly their medical and educational information. If you don’t have main custody of your son or daughter, you might not be the initial point of contact for doctors and schools, and you may find yourself missing out on crucial information. This is a quick guide to the rights of fathers and the ways to make sure you are kept informed.

Approach Your Ex-Partner

First, however difficult it may be, you should approach the resident parent. Explain that you are interested in your child’s progress and wellbeing and that you would like to have the same information from school and doctors as they have. It will often be the easiest way to get access to documents, as your child’s mother will have all the information provided for them, and can simply forward copies on to you.

Medical Information

In an ideal world, sharing your concerns with the resident parent should solve the situation. If, however, they are unhelpful with your request, you need to know where you stand as a parent. In terms of your child’s health, you should contact the doctor’s practice directly, explaining that you are a parent who has the right to your child’s health information. The surgery may ask you to provide proof of your Parental Responsibility. Do not be offended by this, it is routine for doctors to ensure that patient records are confidential, but they must also make sure that information is provided to those who are entitled to it. (See Writing to Your Child's School or GP for Information: A Template on this site.)

If They Refuse

If you are refused the information, ask the practitioner for information on how to make a complaint, or speak to the General Practice Manager. You can go one step further and speak to the Health Authority or the Information Commissioner, if you need access to your child’s medical records.

In some cases, your child may be moved from one doctor’s practice to another, and if this is the case, and you are unaware of the location of the new practice, you can write to the Area Health Authority, with proof of your Parental Responsibility, and they will inform you as to the new practice details. At this point, you must contact the new practice yourself as described above.

Schools and Education

The Department for Education and Employment has clarified that the parent with whom the child does not normally live is entitled (unless restricted by the Court) to the same rights as the parent with whom the child lives under issues relating to the Education Act. This means that as a parent, you have the same rights to information that the resident parent has.

Under education legislation, if you are the natural parent or have been granted parental responsibility, you are within your rights to receive information regarding your child’s schooling. It is essential that you make sure that the school has your address and knows that you want the same information sent to both parents.

Letting them Know

To ensure the school knows that you want information and that you are entitled to it, contact your child’s school in a pleasant but firm manner. Explain that you, as a parent, are entitled to the same information to be sent home to you as well as the child’s mother. Put this request in writing, with enclosed proof that you are the child’s father. Be prepared for more questions, as schools and doctors have a duty of care to protect the child. If you have no court ruling denying you access to the child, you are legally entitled to the information.

If the School is Unwilling

In some cases, schools will be less willing to allow information to be sent to the non-resident parent. If this is the case, contact the Local Education Authority (your local council will give you the details), citing the guidance from the Department of Education and Employment. Explain the fact that you have no Court Judgment against you but you are not being afforded your parental rights. They should help you to receive the school information in the same way that the resident parent does.

School Selection

School selection is not as straightforward as the resident parent ‘choosing’ their preferred school. It all depends on the catchment area of where the child resides. If speaking with the resident parent has not made a difference and you believe that your child’s wellbeing will be affected by attending a certain school, then you can apply for a Specific Order Issue.

Specific Issue Order

If you find that, with the school or general practitioner, you are meeting obstacles which deny your parental rights, you can apply for a Specific Issue Order if:

  • You want an Order relating to specific issues of how your child is being looked after by the other parent
  • You cannot reach an agreement with the other parent
  • You fear for the general wellbeing of your child

This is a last resort, as legal battles can be lengthy, stressful and put further strain on the whole family, including your child.

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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[Add a Comment]
My ex has moved in with her new partner 19 miles away from my home in Manchester.She is due to start school in September and we disagree on schools. My ex wants her to go to a school which is walking distance from her new house whilst I want a school in the middle of where we both live. I currently have my son every Tuesday and every other weekend. We’ve tried mediation which hasn’t worked and I would like a court order to grant permission for her to attend a school in the middle. Is this outcome realistic.
philcc134 - 19-May-18 @ 8:50 AM
ARC - Your Question:
I know parental responsibility gives me the right to my child’s medical records. But does it also give me the right to be informed when their mother puts in a medical appointment for them. Can I insist the GP sends details of appointments and updates and results etc to both me and my ex wife separately?

Our Response:
This issue is nothing to do with your GP and should be resolved with your ex directly. If you cannot, your only other options are to suggest mediation as a way of coming to an agreement, or if your ex will not agree to mediation, then you would have to apply to court. You can see more about Specific Issue Orders, here .
SeparatedDads - 18-May-18 @ 2:32 PM
I know parental responsibility gives me the right to my child’s medical records. But does it also give me the right to be informed when their mother puts in a medical appointment for them. Can I insist the GP sends details of appointments and updates and resultsetc to both me and my ex wife separately?
ARC - 18-May-18 @ 2:22 PM
Hi, My husband and I married 14 years ago, and have 2 children. When we married my husband had a 2-year-old daughter with a previous girlfriend, they were never married and although he was named on the birth certificate and his daughter had his name, this was before the automatic parental responsibility law change, therefore, my husband did not have parental responsibility for the child. Shortly after we married, his ex moved with his daughter and we had no idea where they were, my husband went to a solicitor and a letter was sent to his ex's parents house but nothing came of it. Nobody would tell him where they were and we were told that she was calling another man dad. After a few years, we decided to stop searching for his daughter because it would be unfair to barge into her life and tell her that the man who she believed was her father was not, we decided to wait until she was 16. However, we continued to search social media, look for family members in hopes of seeing some photo's, over the years we never found any, none of them seemed to have Facebook or anything. Then 18 months ago, when his daughter was 14 I decided to stop searching using our surname and her mothers' surname and just searched her first and middle name. I found her with a completely different surname, recognised her straight away, I looked through her Facebook and found her birthdate (with the wrong year to make her older). I noticed she had a couple of my nephews in her friends' list so I contacted them. After a little bit of sneaking, we discovered that she had found out 3 years earlier that the man she had called dad was not her dad when she found her birth certificate, and that she knew my husband was her real dad. My husband reached out to her. Over the past 18 months, my husband and his daughter have grown close, her mother and her mothers' ex (the man she thought was dad) do not know about the relationship. It turns out that back when she was 4 years old, her mum changed her surname legally, she did this to hide her from her father. When she found out the truth she had told their daughter horrible lies, told her that he had left and wanted nothing to do with her, that I had stopped him from seeing her, that we didn't love her. Not only this but the man who had been her father has physically and mentally abused her, her mother and her mothers' other children for years. Social services and police have been involved but nothing has ever been done. The children are on the child protection register but have not been removed. She turns 16 in less than 2 months, she is in a loving relationship with a slightly older but lovely girl whose parents have told her that she can move in when she's 16. Her mum and ex-stepdad bully her about her sexuality, have told her she can't leave home until she is 18, and she is terrified of them. He sits in his car outside her girlfriends' house intimidating them. Her social worker has told her that they are lyi
WorriedStepMum - 1-May-18 @ 12:23 PM
Hi I've just asked my ex-wife, who is the main carer for our four children (ages 15-8) for my children's original Birth Certificates and Passports. I've told her I will return them within a week. I need these to prove my status as their father going forward. All of these documents were obtained while we were married. It's possible that their passports have been recently renewed as this is due every 5 years. We've been divorced for just over two years. She's asked for evidence of why I need them or 'someone to speak to' to establish that this is a 'legitimate request', whatever that means. My understanding is that with full parental responsibility, I'm entitled to these documents on request and I don't necessarily need to provide such proof. Besides the council may or may not issue a letter stating why I need to prove this and even if they do, would such disclosure not be a violation of my privacy? I would appreciate help and clarity on what my legal rights are and how best to approach this assuming she remains intransigent. Thanks in advance.
Vinnie - 24-Apr-18 @ 2:51 PM
Can anyone help me with a couple of issues please
Lurchio - 15-Apr-18 @ 11:11 PM
My partner split up with me at xmas and served me with a non molestation order in Feb . This means now I only go through her mum now . Back in Feb I asked my ex can I have half of her school holidays as well as every other weekend which was what I was doing and she refused the half of holidays which annoyed me and I threatened not to take her back in the Sunday and let her get an emergency order to get us in court bypassing mediation . Anyway I decided to take her back that day and accepted the non molestation in court but withoutfa t finding as I am not bothered if I don't see my ex . Since then my ex has said through the mother that I can't see my daughter now as she is awaiting legal aid to have a court order re contact t drawn up . Since the 6th of Feb I have not been allowed to take my daughter on my weekends but they have offered FaceTime when she is with my ex mum or to pop in and see my 2 year old any Thursday when she is with ex mum . I know I can go through the c100 route as I bypass mediation due to non molesteation order but she has done the c100 now but this is going to take 6-8 weeks before it's in court so that will be 4 months without me having routine contact with my daughter . How will the judge see all of this .
Paul - 12-Apr-18 @ 11:36 PM
Loulou32 - Your Question:
If your separated would anyone here as a father be willing to pay half for a medical assessment for their son? There is two year waiting list. Also what rights, if any, are there to ask or half be provided ? Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to agree this with your ex. If you cannot agree between you, then mediation would be the next option to consider, please see link here. Much depends upon whether the medical assessment is required and whether the non-resident parent feels they wish to contribute beyond paying child maintenance to help their child. Anything above normal child maintenance is voluntary and at the paying-parent's discretion.
SeparatedDads - 12-Apr-18 @ 9:56 AM
If your separated would anyone here as a father be willing to pay half for a medical assessment for their son? There is two year waiting list. Also what rights, if any, are there to ask or half be provided ? Thanks
Loulou32 - 11-Apr-18 @ 11:39 AM
BAZZ - Your Question:
Why was my perfectly valid and not nonsensical question taken down and not answered please??

Our Response:
If your question was a valid question, then please repost. It may have been deleted by accident.
SeparatedDads - 5-Apr-18 @ 12:12 PM
Why was my perfectly valid and not nonsensical question taken down and not answered please??
BAZZ - 3-Apr-18 @ 10:15 AM
Reggie37 - Your Question:
Hi I have parental Responsibility for My son I have a great relationship with my son who I see on regular bases an speak to everyday.But now as I had my son on a Friday to stay over with me an I refused to drop him off at his nans house on the Saturday because his Mum was away on holiday so I thought I would keep hold of him as I have a right with having responsibility.But now because of this am only aloud to see him once a week an his Mum said in future when she goes away on holiday with her boyfriend am not aloud to see him at all as am not to be trusted and I don’t have his welfare (her words) at best interest.I am really sick of her choosing when I can and Carnt see my son as he loves being here with me.

Our Response:
Your only option is to suggest mediation to your ex as a way of trying to resolve these issues between you. If your ex refuses, then you would have the option to apply to court, please see link here . 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 - 29-Mar-18 @ 11:48 AM
Hi I have parental Responsibility for My son I have a great relationship with my son who I see on regular bases an speak to everyday.But now as I had my son on a Friday to stay over with me an I refused to drop him off at his nans house on the Saturday because his Mum was away on holiday so I thought I would keep hold of him as i have a right with having responsibility.But now because of this am only aloud to see him once a week an his Mum said in future when she goes away on holiday with her boyfriend am not aloud to see him at all as am not to be trusted and I don’t have his welfare (her words) at best interest.I am really sick of her choosing when I can and Carnt see my son as he loves being here with me .
Reggie37 - 28-Mar-18 @ 7:36 AM
Ellio88 - Your Question:
Me and my partner broke up, I left her, she does not ever want to see me again but I’d giving me access to my daughter, She didn’t tell me my daughter was in hospital, Is there a way I can be notified if my daughter gets admitted to hospital

Our Response:
Your only option (if you cannot agree between yourselves) is to sort such issues out via mediation, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 26-Feb-18 @ 12:03 PM
Me and my partner broke up, I left her, she does not ever want to see me again but I’d giving me access to my daughter, She didn’t tell me my daughter was in hospital, Is there a way I can be notified if my daughter gets admitted to hospital
Ellio88 - 25-Feb-18 @ 4:32 AM
Afi - Your Question:
Hi there,My Kids are living with their mum, we r in the court regarding contact etc. Court has ordered a Child Welfare Report. Any suggestion on how to deal with Bar Reporter. I mean how to avoid common mistakes and traps. And how to a positive impression on Bar Reporter and present myself strongly.

Our Response:
I will post your question on our Separated Dads Facebook page, you can read the answers here .
SeparatedDads - 20-Feb-18 @ 2:15 PM
Hi there, My Kids are living with their mum, we r in the court regarding contact etc. Court has ordered a Child Welfare Report. Any suggestion on how to deal with Bar Reporter. I mean how to avoid common mistakes and traps. And how to a positive impression on Bar Reporter and present myself strongly.
Afi - 19-Feb-18 @ 11:08 PM
Sean - Your Question:
I am paying regular maintenance via direct debit Collect and pay but have no contact with my children at present( she will not allow it and due to extortionate fees on collect and pay I cannot afford to get legal support go to court for contact). I have been made aware that my oldest is not at college and is working although ex is still claiming child benefits but according to maintenance it is up to me to prove this. I don't know what college to even contact. Who do I speak to to find this information out please?

Our Response:
Even if your child is not attending college, until the college ends the course and child benefit stops being paid, then you would have to continue paying child maintenance. When your child officially leaves approved education or training, payments will stop at the end of February, 31 May, 31 August or 30 November (whichever comes first). You may wish to write to your child's college to verify whether they are officially still at college.
SeparatedDads - 12-Feb-18 @ 3:04 PM
I am paying regular maintenance via direct debit Collect and pay but have no contact with my children at present( she will not allow it and due to extortionate fees on collect and pay I cannot afford to get legal support go to court for contact). I have been made aware that my oldest is not at college and is working although ex is still claiming child benefits but according to maintenance it is up to me to prove this. I don't know what college to even contact. Who do I speak to to find this information out please?
Sean - 9-Feb-18 @ 9:44 AM
I see you - Your Question:
I would appreciate if you people stop taking down my messages when I’m trying to get advise I’m in serous distress here I am not a spammer I am just slow ok fair go mate.thanks!.my story my ex and I have a battle going on and she is at a loss I pity her poor thing.anyway my legal question how do you get out of paying child support?thanks.

Our Response:
You cannot get out of paying child support. Every non-resident biological parent is responsible for paying child maintenance to help support their children. We have taken down posts that seem nonsensical and/or accusatory. We are happy to answer genuine questions. However, if you could try to stop posting comments that are not genuine questions in order to allow others to have some space to post also, it would help. Thank you.
SeparatedDads - 6-Feb-18 @ 2:20 PM
I would appreciate if you people stop taking down my messages when I’m trying to get advise I’m in serous distress here I am not a spammer I am just slow ok fair go mate.thanks!.my story my ex and I have a battle going on and she is at a loss I pity her poor thing .anyway my legal question how do you get out of paying child support?thanks.
I see you - 6-Feb-18 @ 7:24 AM
Jay - Your Question:
My Ex (never married) is taking our child for overnight stays on various locations such as his girlfriend's house, her parent's house, hotels etc and refuses to give me, the residential parent the addresses and contact details. We made an agreement amongst ourself that, he is having our child once a week, inlcuding every other weekend. He doesn't usually pick up his phone if and when I contact him unless it's pick up or drop off. I feel very uncomfortable of not knowing where my child is, especially when she is staying overnight elsewhere apart from his home.Has he got a legal obligation to provide me with the whereabouts of our child's locations and contact details? I would provide him the same should he request it.

Our Response:
There is no law either way to suggest that your ex has to tell you where he is taking yours/his child, it really is something that should be agreed between the parents. If it is not something you both can agree on, then mediation is the next stage you should consider, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 5-Feb-18 @ 11:24 AM
My Ex (never married) is taking our child for overnight stays on various locations such as his girlfriend's house, her parent's house, hotels etc and refuses to give me, the residential parent the addresses and contact details. We made an agreement amongst ourself that, he is having our child once a week, inlcuding every other weekend. He doesn't usually pick up his phone if and when I contact him unless it's pick up or drop off. I feel very uncomfortable of not knowing where my child is, especially when she is staying overnight elsewhere apart from his home. Has he got a legal obligation to provide me with the whereabouts of our child's locations and contact details? I would provide him the same should he request it.
Jay - 4-Feb-18 @ 4:08 AM
Hi , I’m hoping to shed some light in this . My partner and I separated 2 years ago , very complicated 6 weeks before moving into a home we bought together . A girl From work slept over at his mothers and then coincidentally down the line she’s had a baby and here we are . So I’m in the house with the children and he lives at his mums / her mums . My children have had anxiety issues , not wanting to stay , crying to come home that has gone on for weeks. I understand it’s difficult for them as I hve the house but he made the choice to have a child in that situation . Her mother has gone away now for 6 months which is great as they have privacy and a routine . But they now want my children to sleep in her mothers bed ( obv her family has nothing to do with my children ) in a home they have Been too once for 5 mins . It’s taken me 2 years to finally get him to stay with his dad at his nanas , a home he’s known since birth and went to all the time . I have said it would be fair to do alternate weekends and cut the overnight mid week stay to tea at his nanas. However last night he took them to this house , even though I said no , which is a good 30 Min drive from school ( I live 2 mins walking distance from school ) do I have any rights to stop this happening again ? I don’t even know where they were in case of an ememergency . I find it really selfish he isn’t thinking of the children or putting their needs first here . He is refusing to do tea rather than an overnight stay which would be easier for everyone involved .
Meeks21 - 26-Jan-18 @ 8:25 AM
Hi , I’m hoping to shed some light in this . My partner and I separated 2 years ago , very complicated 6 weeks before moving into a home we bought together . A girl From work slept over at his mothers and then coincidentally down the line she’s had a baby and here we are . So I’m in the house with the children and he lives at his mums / her mums . My children have had anxiety issues , not wanting to stay , crying to come home that has gone on for weeks. I understand it’s difficult for them as I hve the house but he made the choice to have a child in that situation . Her mother has gone away now for 6 months which is great as they have privacy and a routine . But they now want my children to sleep in her mothers bed ( obv her family has nothing to do with my children ) in a home they have Been too once for 5 mins . It’s taken me 2 years to finally get him to stay with his dad at his nanas , a home he’s known since birth and went to all the time . I have said it would be fair to do alternate weekends and cut the overnight mid week stay to tea at his nanas. However last night he took them to this house , even though I said no , which is a good 30 Min drive from school ( I live 2 mins walking distance from school ) do I have any rights to stop this happening again ? I don’t even know where they were in case of an ememergency . I find it really selfish he isn’t thinking of the children or putting their needs first here . He is refusing to do tea rather than an overnight stay which would be easier for everyone involved .
Meeks21 - 26-Jan-18 @ 8:15 AM
Iqqi - Your Question:
I just need a advice can someone please help me? I been Separated from my husband since 1 and half he got married without giving me divorce however I didnt had enough evidence to prove in court so closed the case and give orders that he can see my kids 3time a day and over night on weekends. Now he living with his new wife openly and he also introduced his new wife to my kids. Now he is arranging his new wife to collect them from school I am not happy about it what can I do? I dont feel my kids to go with her on their own? Can I do anything about it? He still didn’t divorce me yet.

Our Response:
The fact your husband has not divorced you, and his access to your children are two different issues that should be separated. The first question to ask is how has he been allowed to marry again? Is one marriage not recognised in the UK? If you think your ex is committing bigamy, then you may have to report this to the police as a separate matter. With regards to your ex's partner picking up your children, you can restrict access if you do not like this arrangement. However, this will give your ex room to apply to mediation or through the court in order to try to resolve the issue. If there is no good reason why you should stop your ex's new wife from seeing your kids, then the court is likely to allow this. It's a similar situation if you meet someone new and your ex attempts you from introducing that person your kids to him. Unless there is a valid reason, the court will assume that the parent with parental responsibility is responsible enough to decide what he/she thinks is in the child's best interests. It's difficult, I know, when emotions are involved, but unfortunately the court will not punish a parent and stop them for seeing your kids because they have a new partner.
SeparatedDads - 22-Jan-18 @ 10:50 AM
I just need a advice can someone please help me? I been Separated from my husband since 1 and half he got married without giving me divorce however i didnt had enough evidence to prove in court so closed the case and give orders that he can see my kids 3time a day and over night on weekends. Now he living with his new wife openly and he also introduced his new wife to my kids. Now he is arranging his new wife to collect them from school i am not happy about it what can i do? I dont feel my kids to go with her on their own? Can i do anything about it? He still didn’t divorce me yet.
Iqqi - 21-Jan-18 @ 12:41 PM
I am divorced with a 14 year old daughter. My ex-wife and I have shared custody by mutual consent. She is very secretive about her life and doesn't let me go to her house although she comes to mine to collect our daughter. Do I have a right under law to know if she is living with someone? Should this have been declared on the divorce papers?
d.m. - 5-Jan-18 @ 8:08 PM
Hi, I came across this board when looking for some parental rights. My question is... Officially my daughter lives with me (The Father), but I share parental responsibilities with my ex, today her School arranged a meeting for my daughter with a educational Therapist after school hours (4pm) and took her from afterschool care which is on site, to this meeting, my ex was notified 30mins before the meeting, while the school never contacted me of any meeting, date or time.. (My ex called me as soon as she was told as our communication is good). Im just wondering if the school has done something illegal? or do they have the right to arrange and hold a meeting without my knowledge? thanks in advance.
Mike201 - 10-Nov-17 @ 11:16 PM
My son has equal parental responsibility for his two year old son, the mother and father seen a ear specialist for wax build up, the surgeon stated he couldnt see any problems but would do surgery anyway...my son asked for a second opinion which the appointment was meant to be in a week...the mother took the child for her week block of holiday time and without any contact with the father had the surgery on the childs ears...what are the fathers rights in this situation Thanks in advance for any advice
G-ma - 20-Oct-17 @ 1:55 PM
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