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.
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.
I've had residence of my 5 year old since my girlfriend left 3 years ago . The court gave her visitation last year but she keeps canceling ,sometimes weeks at a time . Is there anything I can do ?
Peanut - 28-Jul-15 @ 6:47 AM
If my children's mothet gave me custody in court can she still petetion to get them back if so will it go more in her favour that she gave them up?
DaddySteve - 27-Jul-15 @ 7:41 PM
@Vince - I'm afraid we can't advise on this because it is a complex set of issues. However, if you continue to be able to look after your son, and give him the stability he needs, in Social Services' and the court's eyes it may remain in your son's best interest for him to stay with you. They will not wish to uproot him unnecessarily. I have included a Family Lives link here which may help you further. You could also give them a call should you need any further advice.
SeparatedDads - 10-Jul-15 @ 2:49 PM
Hi all, I recently got custody of my son through social services not the courts because they saw it was in his best interest to live with me as his mother was in a deranged relationship and couldn't look after him.. But at the time my relationship with my partner was good and the social worker said he had stability here with me and my family and signed him over to us.. But as time takes its toll and my partner is struggling to accept my son so we are breaking up.. My question is will the social workers take him from me if we do split up or would they still see me stability if I found somewhere for us too live?
Vince - 9-Jul-15 @ 3:44 PM
@Don't-know-what to - Please see the article; Can I Get a Background Check On Ex's New Partner? here which might help you, if you are worried about your son being in that environment. You can apply via the courts, for more access, or residency, if you are really concerned.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jun-15 @ 2:51 PM
@Brian - You can apply for custody, if that is what you feel is in the best interests of your children, which is what the courts are concerned about. Whether you will be granted it, is a matter for the courts to decide. A Cafcass report will have to be compiled which will take both yours and your ex's views into consideration. Please see link: What Goes into the Cafcass Family Report? here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jun-15 @ 12:22 PM
My x is a good mum always looked after my son n goes to work part time but she has met a guy fresh out of prison from a manslaughter charge and has also been remanded b4 on a murder charge he is well known to the police for Al this and also beating his ex to the point she was in hospital he's also smashed up his x house cars n her parents cars n house I don't know why she has gone with someone like this maybe to get at me but I don't think she knows what she is doing I'm concerned for my son n don't know what to do. He's already threatened to come to my house because me n her argued
Don't-know-what to - 17-Jun-15 @ 5:07 PM
Split with gf 3 weeks ago.
I was drinking a lot.
3 weeks sober on antabuse and getting all counciling I need.
She has a false brain tumor and I was her carer,I cooked cleaned washed dried ironed looked after son and step sons and she was in bed asleep till 2pm at times.
None of them helped with housework even though I asked and they'd just watch me struggle.
She said she couldn't help due to disability which would be fine.
But two days after being kicked out she's on hands and knees cleaning and so are others.
She can't walk to shops she sends 11 year old shopping she's partially sighted and is on so many tablets they knock her out.
Do I have a case to apply for custody
Brian - 17-Jun-15 @ 10:39 AM
@dd - not if you admit to having a couple of drinks in moderation. It will only have an impact if you have a problem with alcohol.
Rich - 17-Jun-15 @ 10:00 AM
I have a question,When you go to mediation and you are asked if you drink or do drugs and you admit to :Example) Drinking 2 times per week,or so, will that have a negative impact in giving that parent custody?
dd - 14-Jun-15 @ 6:14 AM
@egnaro - the fact that he is living at his mothers shouldn't have an impact on access. It may on his child staying over in the future, if there is not enough space.
Jan - 10-Jun-15 @ 12:26 PM
This is on behalf of my brother. His ex is pregnant and completely shut him out and got back to her ex. DNA tests will happen but... if he is the father... will he lose more rights to shared custody if he happens to still live with my mum? Its a good stable home. but he cant afford to move out on his own as he lives in London. He did live with this woman but she kicked him out.
egnaro - 8-Jun-15 @ 8:12 PM
Hi there, i was with my partner for four years with 2 children with my eldest not being his. After my second daughter i was suffering with post natal depression.i was hospitalized for my partner at the time was granted special parental guardianship over my eldest and guardianship for are youngest as he falsly lead me to believe while i was being treated he would care for our children and once i made full recovery we would all be together again so i signed and agreed to all. But what i didnt no he was secretly in another relationship through everything. I signed the papers and he has full control over my children. He refuses i see them as often as id wish. I have a date with a solicitor but im worried he will now have my girls forever! Iv recovered tremendously now and have my proof. I also made an appointment with him to attend mediation to sort contact in which hes refused. Is he doing write by this? I just want my children back!
woody - 4-Jun-15 @ 6:14 PM
My partner has 2 young children with his ex who suffers with borderline personality disorders and has a compulsion to lie as well as having had drug addiction in the past. 18 months ago, they agreed on 50/50 care of the children, resident with my partner for the above reasons. In the last couple of months she has lied about nursery fees being far more than they were (which my partner pays to her account), been sacked, split up from her partner a number of times, been in and out of jobs, made drastic changes to the children's childcare arrangements, and the latest is what we believe to be a huge story of 'ill health' concocted by her to be catastrophically worse than it actually is. She is claiming to have advanced ovarian cancer (aged 24) and had a hysterectomy but was seen out in town less than 72 hrs after her 24 he hospital stay. It doesn't add up. We just don't believe her, and sadly if there is something wrong we think it's a case of the girl who cried wolf.
I am currently encouraging myv partner to have another mediation session with her to try and coax the truth about her healthout into the open,with a view to challenging her for full custody of the two children.
What I really want to know is how she can justify her position as a responsible parent and what chance we have of proving the complete opposite which is the case.What I really want to know is how she can justify her position as a responsible parent and what chance we have of proving the complete Opposite.What evidence do we need to provide? My partner is very worried about rocking the boat and the effect that will have on his relationship with the children.
Advice needed please!
Primrose - 1-Jun-15 @ 6:57 PM
@bigman44 - the fact that you have the residency order in place will stand you in good stead. Yes, she may be able to take you to court, but that does not mean she will be given custody of your son. If you can show your son is settled and has a happy and consistent daily life the courts will be unwilling to disrupt this arrangement of him living with you, especially due to her past record of neglect. The courts will always decide what is in the best interests of your son and it seems like you have proved to be a good father who has his son's best interests at heart. I hope all works in your favour.
SeparatedDads - 22-May-15 @ 12:36 PM
hi, can somebody put my mind to rest.
I have a residence order for my 15month old son to live with me full time with contact to his mother, which was made jan2015 after a 10month private court proceedings.
my son was on child protection for neglect before he was born due to his mothers other children are on it for a few years before, until recently 4years in total. and he was on pre proceedings along with the other children before he was born until week before the final hearing for my private court proceedings.there is drugs and a lot of other things involved, and my son ended up with a numberof infections while in her care which she never took him to doctors. social services did there report and recommended that my son lives with me.
now after 5 months since the final hearing and decision made by the courts the mother is saying she is taking me back to court for my son. child protection has recently been drop but a very robust child in need plan is in place on her other children. can she take me to court ? im worried as my son has settled, medicals are all up to date, the routine and me goneback to work part time to accommodate him with proper child care.
bigman44 - 18-May-15 @ 9:26 PM
My son just got sole custody of my grandson. His mother after fighting him for the last 5 years just up and abandoned him and his younger sister to go with a man just out of jail. She left her house and when the council went in to clear it there was fog poo everywhere. Even in the kids bedrooms. The kids are now doing brilliantly. They have put in weight and my grandson is catching up in school as he now goes every day. They are happy and smile all the time. They talk about their mum hitting them and so on. But they will get over it in time. Long and the short of it not every child is better off with its mother. Some people just shouldn't be a lowed to look after children.
anne - 29-Apr-15 @ 11:05 AM
@poppy_1 - as specified in the article, 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 the father will be able to see them with a Contact Order. However, there are times when a judge will look very favourably on a father’s application for custody, especially when there is a solid reason for doing so. There is really no predicting how a court will look at it, but the courts will always look at what is in the best interests of the child, and stability and consistency play a large factor in that. If it goes to court then down the line Cafcass are likely to get involved, so you might be interested in the article: What Goes into the Cafcass Family Report? link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 20-Apr-15 @ 10:07 AM
@lpoollad - thanks for your comments. I'm sure it's helpful to dads even seeking contact that the law can be on their side.
SeparatedDads - 16-Apr-15 @ 2:45 PM
Hi, my brother has a 6 year old child and his ex has custody. My nephew is behind in school and struggling educational wise. His mother is also pushing for every disabilitypossible although it has been proven he has no disability such as ADHD, autism or any other disability. I am worried that he is continuously getting put down by his mother , how can anyone progress when they are constantly getting put down by saying they have a disability when proven that he hasn't. My nephew sees his farther Every weekend without doubt and around his farther he is well behaved and I think that he would progress a lot better than he would around his mother. I am interested in to what steps and if it were difficult if a farther wanted to get custody would this be possible, or would it be a long continuous battle with no ending. Thank you
poppy_1 - 16-Apr-15 @ 12:06 PM
Hi everyone ive just come out of a 13 month court battle in the uk merseyside where i was fighting against the mother of my 2 girls i eventually won custody also i was unrepresented and she had a barrister there where some issues of domestic violence between her and partners and children where present issues of drugs etc. Basically dads push and push the system work really hard pester all professionals involved and complain if you feel you are being unfairly treated it makes a difference
lpoollad - 14-Apr-15 @ 1:31 PM
@cas - I am sorry to hear this. As specified in the article; 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. You could always discuss joint residency with your ex, hopefully she may agree. However, if it couldn't be agreed amicably and it has to go through the courts, you would need ample space in order to bring them up. So for instance if you leave your house and rent a one-bedroomed flat, then there is less likelihood the courts would agree to splitting the parenting of your children. However, the courts may favour it more than if you had enough bedrooms in your house. The most important thing to remember that everything that is decided through the courts will always be 'what is in the best interests of your children'. You may find our Separated Dads Facebook page useful, as there are a lot of postings from dads in the same or similar situation, or from those who have been through it all before and know the pitfalls. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 14-Apr-15 @ 12:19 PM
Hi I need advise on what to do next as my wife after 4 years has just suddenly finished our relationship I have asked her why and she just says it's because she is unhappy but it's not my fault we are still currently living in the same house till things get sorted as we are both joint council tenants but I'm afraid that if I move out she will gain everything our kids the house etc and I don't think this is fair that both the kids and myself should suffer because of her decision how can I go about having the kids living with me instead thank you for any advise you can give
cas - 11-Apr-15 @ 8:00 AM
@squeaky - Does your mother not have the information about what lies he may have told? Court records are closed to the public for a minimum of 30 years and only under special conditions will the Ministry of Justice allow access to court records or other restricted information. The grounds for access must be ‘substantive and sufficient to outweigh the exemption’, meaning you must have a good reason for the request.Permission must be sought from the Departmental Records Officer via the HMCS website. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 7-Apr-15 @ 12:48 PM
@squeaky - Does your mother not have the information about what lies he may have told? Court records are closed to the public for a minimum of 30 years and only under special conditions will the Ministry of Justice allow access to court records or other restricted information. The grounds for access must be ‘substantive and sufficient to outweigh the exemption’.You may be able to get permission from the Departmental Records Officer via the HMCS website. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 7-Apr-15 @ 12:47 PM
My father got custody of me my sister and brother. That was back in late 60s early 70s. Always wondered how. We were the talk of the place as never happens especially two girls and a baby. He is dead now but would never talk about it anyway my mother says he told lies. Does anyone know how I can find out?
squeaky - 3-Apr-15 @ 8:51 PM
Surely its discriminatory in this day and age for courts not to treat parents equally?
I've got a strong case against my ex but been warned by solicitor it will be an uphill struggle as the courts favour the mother. We have same sex marriages and easier adoption for gay couples but a biased outlook on dads.
Can't this website fundraise to try and set a president case? I am sure there's a human rights argument in this as well?
discriminatory - 10-Mar-15 @ 5:26 PM
Surely its discriminatory in this day and age for courts not to treat parents equally? I've got a strong case against my ex but been warned by solicitor it will be an uphill struggle as the courts father mother. We have same sex marriages and easier adoption for gay couples but a biased outlook on dads.
discriminatory - 10-Mar-15 @ 5:24 PM
@Cal - you might also want to put this question to our Separated Dads Facebook page followers - as some of them will have been through the same situation and may be able to advise. However, if she is acting responsible when your children are with her, it may go some way to being a responsible mum. The worrying thing is if your children begin to say it is affecting them, so this is when you need to keep an eye on the situation.
SeparatedDads - 3-Mar-15 @ 10:56 AM
I'm in a real sticky situation where I have two kids aged 4 and 2 with an ex partner. She is Middle aged and addicted to prescription pain killers she also binge drinks often and when under the influence has a habit of self harm and violence towards others (usually any man she is emotionally involved with). My only trouble is although she seems extremely unhinged she is very careful to cover it up. I have the kids every weekend and she only binge drinks when they are in MY care such is an important factor. As the kids are not in immediate danger because she goes to work and lives a normal life when the kids are with her (so I've been told). Then as far as this goes I feel like people would not take me seriously. If anyone has had experience with a similar case what can i do?