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Your Rights if You Win Custody of Your Children

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 5 Jun 2020 | comments*Discuss
Separated Dads Custody Residence Order

The important fact to remember is that, in the majority of cases, the father will not be granted custody of the child by the courts. Individuals and groups have complained about this bias of the courts for several years, but it’s simply a fact that unless the circumstances are exceptional, the child or children will stay with their mother under a residence order, and you will be able to see them with a Contact Order.

Conditions For Father’s Custody

However, there are times when a judge will look very favourably on a father’s application for custody. Where the mother has a history of addiction to drink or drugs or an extensive history of binge drinking, which you can prove, there’s a good chance you’ll be given custody. There are solid reasons for this, since addicts often turn to crime to feed their habits, which can put the child in situations that aren’t good as he or she grows.

The courts take a similar attitude where the mother has a criminal record, at least if it’s a reasonably extensive one showing her to be a repeat offender. That applies whether she’s in jail or not (there are instances where mothers in jail can keep very young children with them, but those are few and far between).

The mother might be considered physically or emotionally incapable of raising a child. That might be due to a physical handicap, or it could be emotional instability. In those cases, the father would be given custody.

Similarly, where there’s been emotional or physical abuse of the child by the mother, and it can be proven, then the father will definitely receive custody. Sadly, abuse rates by mothers have been on the increase.

Finally, if the mother is deemed to have abandoned her children, the father will receive custody. Abandoned is classed as not being in communication with a child for a set period, whether by mail, phone, physical contact or email. Also, if she leaves with a new partner and has no contact with the children, or if she neglects the children when they’re in her care, then custody will devolve to the father.

Your Rights

When you have custody, you have the same rights as a mother with custody, and the mother would have Visitation Rights with the children (of course, there might be circumstances when she might be denied access). Be sure you obey the contact order fully.

Something to be aware of is that the mother can later petition the court to have the residence order changed, if she’s cleaned up her act and can prove herself to be upstanding and likely to be a good parent. Sadly, there’s a fair chance she might win, although the courts will take the wishes of the children into account.

You’d do right to feel that everything is more fragile than if you were female, since it probably is. She can always come back with her lawyer.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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I need advise i have my grandchildren living with me and their father mother is abscent social services got involved as both parents unfit and place rhey lived in was deemed unsafe social services have no involvement now there with me can the mother just come and take them can the father refuse to hand them over
Khayless - 5-Jun-20 @ 11:55 PM
My daughters mom was meant to meet me March 2015 to collect our daughter so I can go to work. She text me sayingsaid she can't do this, be a mom blah blah. Went AWOL. Overdosed numerous of times on drugs and alcohol. Tried to commit suicide twice. Now suffers from bi polar, borderline personality and epilepsy. The social worker said my daughters mom was stable. So I started letting her see her once a month. Then once a fortnight. Then the week before she broke up for the six weeks holidays in 2018 she kept my child and refused to send her school for the last week and threaten to change her school and never let me see her again. When I did get her back a week later bc she couldnt cope she dropped her off and went to Blackpool to party I found out.Didn't hear anything then till she rang Christmas day to speak to my daughter but she was scared of her. My daughter told the school social worker that her mom kidnapped her and doesn't want to see her. Didn't get any presents for Christmas or her birthday since 2018. Is there a way to get custody of my daughter full time and states she lives with me
N - 30-Mar-20 @ 3:24 PM
If my son has his son 5-6 nights a week is he likely to be able to go for full custody?.. she calls daily to speak but when he goes home it's not long before hes back again.. she is getting all the benefits with iut having any of the responsibilities and I dont think this is fair
Miche - 2-Mar-20 @ 6:55 AM
Hi I am father with 3 daughters. My wife cheating me with other guy. This not first time. 4 times already cheated me. Every time it is for some months and then come back and said sorry. All 4 times she take my kids away. This time I dont want more give my kids away. May I can get full custody? At the moment I live like that. I work nigt shift from 10PM-6AM. After work 7AM I need woke up my two daughters for school. 9AM i need bring them to school and then I spend all my day with my baby. 3PM I need take my daughters from school. And then I can sleep 3h before work. At the moment my wife is at home in tight time with kids. But I have other person who can stay with kids in tightime. My wife work day shift 6AM-2PM May I can get full custody?
Sid - 18-Feb-20 @ 7:20 PM
Hi my ex partner is going to court for custody of my son Monday I’ve received no court hearing yet but have spoken with cafcass on 2 occasions but no word about hearing yet. He’s applying for custody will this be granted as now both my child are on the child protection list as my ex partner my new baby’s dad has grabbed my eldest son? My eldest sons dad is the one trying to gain custody but has recently decided to keep my son whilst I was in hospital having my new born. What am I to do
Pip - 15-Nov-19 @ 5:48 PM
Hi, i had been a single mum before it was hard, id been on dates etc nothing felt right with anyone! Me and my daughter 10 years just us and then i met what i thought was the one. How could i have been more wrong. He lost me my job, my home i gave up and he tried tried for 7 months to get me pregnant. What a sad life my two daughters had to live. In emergency accommodation the other side of town. I dont drive so to get my eldest to school was 8 bus journeys a day. In amongst all that he got in contact and told me to take all the antidepressants the doctor had gave me cus no one would notice i was dead. He lost me my accommodation and i almost gave up, he bit my face he took me out through my legs and i went back smacked my head just missing our 1 year old daughter. By this point hes strangling me, ive no fight left. He saw my face where he bit me and said are you going to call the police. My reaction, how can i when you've bent my phone in half. He grabbed a glass and said if im going down your coming with me. Then got another glass. Blood pooring everywhere i told him to get out. Id had enough. I wasnt aloud any visitors and hed almost killed me and my baby. My baby i should be enjoying i just never felt so low in my life. Social services had told me if he was to go near her shed be taken from me. He was arrested but it was a he said she said. Howevever ive not had any thing contact etc. Hes 5 minutes from me and has avoided csa. I dont want the money hes hiding from 12 pound a week but then hasnt had anything in his bank account to ive now been told he has to give me nil. Im not interested in the money, i want to put a court order in and just go for full custody and be done with it. He doesnt care as hes just bought his girlfriend a real monkey. I want it set in stone. All paperwork showing no one can get hold of him.
Jj - 13-Oct-19 @ 4:33 AM
my son with he dad and he father dont want to give my son back once i go back home.. not on drugs or drinking just come over to work for for my family as i got no help from the father or he family
amy - 11-Oct-19 @ 10:52 PM
This time last year my children was taken from me as I had no stable home no help from anyone and was in a bad place my son was 4 months old and I was in a flat with drug addicts but I never smoked in the same room as my children they took my little boy and my 3 other children went with there farther and my oldest son went into foster care now loosing all my children at 26 was hard and I dealer with it the wrong way and took drugs to deal with my pain and to help me forget at the time I was hurt and young and didn’t no what to do so I went a couple contacts and then I stopped to better myself for the kids now a year has gone by and my youngest son has been adopted and my oldest is still in foster and others with the farther I am stopping drugs and trying so hard to be a better mother I’m not aloud to see them have to go meeting to show I can turn up and not stop seeing them again like before I didn’t sign any adoption or nothing if I do well and get of drugs can I get full custody of my oldest son he is ten now and my other 3 I want back with me what can I do or any help please I need my children back
Bird - 27-Sep-19 @ 10:15 PM
Hi hear one for you like inf if no one know Split up with mother in march 18 I had the children 90% of the time in July 2018 she then accuse me of rape which did not happen no charges brought against me but still weeks later I started to have the childrenyoungest is my kid 2nd girl is her daughter I am not biological father but I still had the children while she was with new boyfriend 1 then she went with boyfriend 2 2 weeks after the fake allegation of rape , November 2018 her father then told me the truth about the fake Rap she took it too far next day she stoped me haven the kids stoped all contact so I took to family court this is where it gets interesting. She made allegations in the bundle about rap a knife attack and lots of stupid things each hearing I've never been able to speak a word but on the last day hearing that's a full day the mother confirmed statement under oath 3 times asked by the judge but she said don't recognise knife accusation judge has now sacked her lawyers and the case was stoped 1.15 minutes into the case she was ordered to put more paperwork to the judge by certain date this is not happened there is now a one-hour directions hearing next soon , But due to her the kids and myself struggling don't know what will happen next does anyone know so what they think will happen will I get full custody of my son and her daughter replies welcome as I'm lost
Pop - 26-Sep-19 @ 12:37 PM
I still with my wife but she lives else where... They ain't not at any communication with my 2 daughters for the pass 3mths.. Can I get custody
Ali - 16-Sep-19 @ 9:13 PM
I’m looking advice, I spilt with my ex 4 months ago, we have a 2 year old child, she had a husband before we met which they have 2 children. but have got Back together, they spilt because he hit her through out the years they where together, cut off her clothes. Then beat her one night and lefted her for dead. Police got involved but they couldn’t prove it. She took him to court, and told the courts everything he has done to her.Through our the yearsTo stop him from seeing his kids. He ended up getting to see them through a contact centre. She ended up letting him to start seeing his children and picking them up from the house, one day his kids where in his van he stopped at someone house and started putting windows and stuff in, which his kids seen. She stopped him from seeing them for awhile. He has convictions for armed robbery, among other things, I know he sells drugs. The only problem is I have epilepsy . But have a good family network.
Robbie - 18-Aug-19 @ 8:37 PM
My soon to be ex partner has been done for drinking and been thinking three times in three times it in from the safeguarding process and she can do perfect and got the kids back after I’d left work to look after two of the kids are not my biologically but worries please come to my attention that she starting to being heavily but she’s trying to push me away so I cannot keep an eye on them and use and the kids or manipulating the kids to start shouting at me bearing in mind I’ve caught Her absolutely drunk and asleep on the living room floor at 3:30 in the afternoon during the kids last days of school and my son is two stepdaughters are seven and nine I need advice on what to do and where I can stand
Dacre - 4-Aug-19 @ 12:14 AM
Hi I want some advice on what I can do as my ex and I have a 4 year old and my ex never really has her and is always out living the high life leaving my daughter in the care of her 68 year old mother. This annoys me I would love to get custody?
D - 28-Jul-19 @ 3:26 PM
My ex partner is taking me to court for full custody of our child, after he had said allegations of me neglecting our child. No social worker is involved in this matter, So I am just wondering what the chances are of his getting full custody?
Stacey - 18-Jun-19 @ 5:59 PM
Hiya... My wife has been involved in affair since last June 2018..only finally learning this last Christmas..she then applied for divorce.. to which I agreed..on the basic that affair or not we needed to separate..she by admission is a fantastic mother..that is until of late with her taking the kids to her mother's whom she hasn't spoken to in 4yrs then stopped me from having any access and applied to the court for prohibited steps order stopping me from being able to take the kids from her custody and giving her the right to tell me what access the kids can have with dad..the 1st hearing actually threw out her wants and stipulated that the kids until the final hearing must have time with dad..now although I agreed to less than 20% of overall time until the final hearing where I hope to see the kids being given equal rights to both parents on a 50/50 time schedule ive just received a letter stating that unless I agree to keeping my time to less than 20% that she intends on claiming or recovering her costs from me..even though I haven't initiated any of these circumstances and I'm only actually trying to be a dad who's always been there..including my kids right to have a positive relationship with dad.. Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated..
Mowgli - 11-Jun-19 @ 12:37 PM
Hi. My son wishes to live with his daddy n becomes very upset every weekend when he's dropped back at mine. I do my best for him n I provide food, clothing n do school runs. I have anxiety n depression n I'm finding it very stressful watching him like this. His daddy is willing to have my son live with him. Do I need social worker involved as I don't have one now?
Rhi - 28-May-19 @ 1:16 PM
Hi I need some guidance The Mother of my child receives £260 per month via direct pay from myself. I used to have my son every weekend due to my working hours during the week. I now have my Son every fortnight for a weekend (Friday, 19:00 - Sunday, 16:00) :( I have requested to have my Son half the time which includes school runs (I will ask my family to assist with child care.) Mother of my child NEVER picks up or drops off our Son. Mother spends child in one outfit for the the weekend which forces me to spend money on clothes. I buy clothes and understand my Son will benefit by taking it to his mums but the never return so I'm forced to buy more which means i'm dipping into his spending money for the weekend. I bought my son a mobile phone - Mother deletes my skype contact details so we can not speak. Mother told me I cannot have my son during my arranged weekend with my Son Mother is controlling can is stopping access again! last time is lasted 5months My Son was 4-5 at the Time - I cried when i was able to pick him up I don't have much money to fight What are my options? This year, Mother decided to surround herself around aggressive people which pushed her while holding my Son. As a result my Son had a cut by his eye Last year, Mother took my Son to Turkey during school hours which resulted in a fine from the school sent to both mine and her address. I feel i will loose my Son as he grows up to an unfair mother which is brain washing him to not like me, his Father. I'm missing my Son
Good - 20-May-19 @ 9:55 AM
Is this still the case that mothers tend to get custody of the child? I read that courts were starting to go more for 50/50.
Jezza - 8-May-19 @ 9:28 PM
I applied to the courts for full residency of my Son as there were numerous incidents with Social Services and issues with Alcohol and Drug taking. I have since had full residency of my son for the last 9 months and live in a different city (25 miles away). My Son has now started a school in our city but I am anxious from ready previous replies that is she cleans her act up she may get custody again!? Can you advise?
All for my son - 8-May-19 @ 4:46 PM
@superdad1988.suicide has never entered (my head )it’s a cowards way out .i have had allegations( my whole life )that (I do this I do that) that I got (mental issues )I have faced the courts on (multiple times)on (various allegations )from different people over the years .and each and every time I have (been cleared )I have been judged bye simple minded people who have a (boring life )and like to make up (stories) (about me and some off my family members )and every time we walked free .there is the proof in the pudding right there .
Done - 21-Jan-19 @ 10:21 PM
@superdad1988.my x is in the wrong she will say I am struggling just waiting for me to (snap)( manipulative person )because I didn’t (want to be with her) and only wanted to see daughter yes (I handled it wrong )with the (messages) but in reality was( I broke )didn’t have my own house didn’t have money for a (solicitor). and only wanted to have lunch with daughter to see who she turned into as person and maybe get to know each other it was something I (felt strongly about) tryied a (different approach )now I feel I have allegations against me (I faced court) over this before and was found not to be a threat and that i am off (sound health )that I have full time employment.i just can’t match my (ex evil )and the wonder way I pulled away from all off them ?.
Done - 21-Jan-19 @ 6:37 PM
hi, my ex partner and myself separated 3 and a half years ago and we have a 4 year old boy together. I have him every Friday to Sunday. My issue is that during the time we've been separated, she got with somebody else and had another child. They have recently separated so now she is home alone with 2 children. She is a good mother to my son however she does suffer bad from depression and anxiety and was recently sectioned to a mental health hospital due to becoming suicidal. She acts like everything is fine but I know she is struggling with 2 kids on her own, her family have been in contact with myself to say she isn't coping and that i need to do more, bearing in mind I live 30 miles away and work mon-fri so I only get to see him on weekends. I'm now engaged to a lovely lady who treats my son as one of her own, currently expecting ourselves and have a lovely house and home life. In an ideal world I want to have full custody of my son as I think I can offer him a better, more stable home life than what he has now. Not taking anything away from her, she tries and puts on a brave face but I'm just concerned for my sons welfare, especially with her mental health state at the moment. I just want somebody else's opinion and if I have grounds for full custody?
SuperDad1988 - 21-Jan-19 @ 5:37 PM
hi, my ex partner and myself separated 3 and a half years ago and we have a 4 year old boy together. I have him every Friday to Sunday. My issue is that during the time we've been separated, she got with somebody else and had another child. They have recently separated so now she is home alone with 2 children. She is a good mother to my son however she does suffer bad from depression and anxiety and was recently sectioned to a mental health hospital due to becoming suicidal. She acts like everything is fine but I know she is struggling with 2 kids on her own, her family have been in contact with myself to say she isn't coping and that i need to do more, bearing in mind I live 30 miles away and work mon-fri so I only get to see him on weekends. I'm now engaged to a lovely lady who treats my son as one of her own, currently expecting ourselves and have a lovely house and home life. In an ideal world I want to have full custody of my son as I think I can offer him a better, more stable home life than what he has now. Not taking anything away from her, she tries and puts on a brave face but I'm just concerned for my sons welfare, especially with her mental health state at the moment. I just want somebody else's opinion and if I have grounds for full custody?
SuperDad1988 - 21-Jan-19 @ 4:15 PM
I have been with my partner nearly 8 years now until 4 weeks agowe have four children together the youngest 7 weeks old and child which is 14 monthsother 27months which has spinabifadia and girl 6yrs old which stays temp at their granns any my partner walked out saying going to shop and hasnt been in touch not seen kids and spent my benifet money which goes into her her accounti am in the process of contacting the appropiate peoples to stop everything she gets for our kids as she left us with no moneyi had to ask social sevices for help which they have done i am now waiting for bigger house to settle the kids indont get me wrong i would love my psrtner to come home as i and waines miss her so much and sort thisso now i am taking day by day with the children hopeing one day she will come bk
Div - 1-Jan-19 @ 6:34 PM
My ex has not allowed me see my child last 3 years I applied threw court but felt the pressure alone and with drew now I am concerned about my daughter welfare as I have been made awaredundant she's back on heroine and in her grandma's care now So she has had social services get involved mine and new partner life which we have accepted to agree assessment but still have no clue how to go about fighting for my own daughter only apply threw court If we are assessed for 35 days threw social services have they or would they help to obtain rights have my own daughter in our care Thank you
Dog - 26-Nov-18 @ 6:37 PM
I was with my ex partner for 11 year she had two kids to two different dads which i took them on as my own specially my daughter who i have raised from birth at the begining of the relationship things got bad i had anger issues and one point i attacked her as she attacked me but i didnt press chargers in case the kids got took off us by social services I was charged with abh went to crown court sarah written a letter to the judge to spare me going to prison and it worked i went to angermangement/counciling we got back together and while getting back together we had my youngest carter joe things where great yeah we had our arguments but who dosent then we split up we try to sort our differences out still going round to see the kids and taking round our dads where I am living but we didnt work out and I finished it completely.she gave me 2 days a week for tea monday and thursday Id mind them for her while she was working on a wednesday aftertoon and saturday afternoon then week after it be the same twice for tea sleep over the weekend friday 6pm til sunday 6pm also inbertween taking them to school on a monday morning also picking them up for tea. inbetween all this id pick my daughter up from dancing make her tea and drop her off home i also use to have them ramdomly sleep over rather it was just to spend time with them or say the friday when it wasnt my weekend they sleep over so then sarah didnt have to be rushing about to get to work also if she had things planned id help out by minding them which i didnt mind because they my kids llove spending time with them i also use to ring them almost everyday like how are you how school been what you been up to so now that iv met someone else which i have told her she didnt want the kids meeting her which they have met her but as a friend passing through the street as iv told her she has threaten me i lose the kids for doing so.i have never stop me putting the effort into my kids iv knew this woman for nearly all my life because iv met someone new she saying she scared if my past history repeat itself thats why she safe guarding the kids from us fighting that she cant protect the kids she has told me that she has sorted a contact visit which is a lie can only be rule by a judge so that hasnt worked she has stop all contact with me and my kids. she let me talk to the boys on the 4th july and now she stop me completely talking to them i have tried and ask if i can have them for tea and the answer is no she has told me to go through the courts and that i wont get no access because of my padt history i have never hurt or indanger my kids but because iv told them off for being naughty im some kind of monster which im not but before all this she told me i was a good dad and couldnt of hand pick a better one she has done something like this with the other kids dad and they havent put up a fight and walked away which i am not willing to do i want to be a part of my kids lives i love them and do all i can for thos
is this wrong??? - 11-Oct-18 @ 10:13 PM
I tried to take my life three weeks ago with alcohol prescription and paracetamol and cocaine while my children were sleeping as was very stressed depressed and nobody was helping me I'd also been given the wrong roseate of citalopram which was not helping me to deal with life and it's daily stresses I've never not even in younger years taken drugs before nor had I ever attempted or thought about taking my life , I rang father to take kids to his till I got help and support and stayed in hospital for five days came out and got right medication referred myself to councelling and also contact with social services .... since having a meeting with social they have made promises and feel the children are unsafe with me ( I disagree strongly as I've turned my life around sorted debts and got help and my medication has now settled in) ad however is demanding supervised visits but not arranging them and only 15 minute phone calls three times a week to speak to the children who are all claiming they want to see me and return home I have a clean large beautiful three bed house my sister for support which I never had before and cogaglative behaviour therapy sessions booked to start soon all done by myself and work focused job interviews and training, can I demand my children to return home and have 50/50 residency although social only want supervised visits!?? Thier making my children and myself very unhappy! I'm a fan mum who made a mistake whose trying my best to rectify everything and feels a lot happier and healthier and stable mentally emotionally and physically but it's just not enough for the social services they said it would go child protection if I have my children home which I don't care I will do everything in my power to do what they ask of me but there's no communication failed hope and dad is adamant he will seek legal full residency but he hasn't yet and lives in a two bed flat with full time job and is struggeling please help please many thanks
Jadey - 21-Sep-18 @ 12:38 AM
Hi, I met my ex wife who I was married to briefly in 2016 while on holiday in Portugal back in 2012. She had already left 2 (from 2 different fathers) daughters behind in another country in europe due to debts she had run up. She told me her ex husband had tried to kill her more than once and she was advised to leave the country for her own safety. She moved to the UK to be with me and my life has been hell ever since. She was caught stealing from me and my family and even banned from the local Asda for a year or two for stealing. When my daughter was a couple of months old, me ex paid for me to go to visit my brother in Norway for a few days and while I was there ran off to Florida with my daughter saying I had a problem and didnt want them. When she refused to allow me to speak to my daughter or answer my calls I contacted the police who the told er to return to the UK with my daughter immediately which she did. That was the beginning of a couple of instances where she called the police to claim domestic violence had taken place which it hadnt, she was trying to build a case against me to try to paint me in a bad light. The second time this happened the police officers advised me to leave the property for my own safety as they could see what she was doing. There were no marks on her and no charges were brought on either occasion. That was the last time we were together. We have always had a 50:50 shared care arrangement for our daughter despite her continually informing the cms that I had her less so I have had the added stress of constantly being blackmailed for money. She also constantly tried to change our contact agreement to suit her or whatever job she is in at the time. After contacting my local MP regarding the CMS problem I was advised to get our current arrangement (since Sept 2017 when my daughter started school) formalized. 2 days before the court hearing my ex stated on respondant reply form that she feared my daughter was in danger of some form of emotional abuse from me although has failed to back this up with any evidence. The hearing has now automatically gone to a fact finding hearing and I am now answering allegations of which there is no proof other than 2 police callouts which amounted to nothing. At court she also tried to change the agreement for the third or fourth time in 10 months (she wanted me to have my daughter every weekend and she will have her Monday to Friday!). To add another twist, her 17 year old daughter, upon finding out what her mother was doing, wrote me a damning statement about her mum and how she would self harm in front of her to get her ex husband in trouble, that she had been emotionally abusive to her, (she has a history of self harming because of her mother) and that she was a danger to her little sisters emotional wellbeing. There was other stuff written in there too which painted her in a bad light. I have also spoke to the 17 year olds father who has confirmed that my ex wife has repea
Paps - 19-Sep-18 @ 10:03 AM
I have regular acces to my children through an enforced contact order, take them on overseas holidays, have them for Xmas etc etc. Last week the mother of my children took an overdose and ended up in hospital. Does this give me grounds to seek full responsibility/custody of my children. Any advice on what I can do to safeguard my children, protect their well being and am I within my rights to challenge my current contact order????
Deerc - 14-Sep-18 @ 11:15 PM
Gin123 - Your Question:
My son sent me a very disturbing video of his mother extremely drunk, to the extent she could barely open her eyes, the video then progressed to her swearing at him then hitting and grabbing my son! I have been through the court before in an attempt to get custody but it was granted to the mother, even tho she is unemployed, disappears for days etc etc! With this video evidence would it put me in the position to expect custody to be awarded to me.

Our Response:
You may wish to seek legal advice to see whether this can be used in court. It is rare that a court will hand a child over to the other parent unless there is a very good reason such as abuse or neglect. You don't say whether social services have been involved?
SeparatedDads - 10-Sep-18 @ 2:00 PM
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