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Your Rights if You Win Custody of Your Children

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 11 Feb 2016 | 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.

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I have a problem im looking after my child but the problem is the mother of the child she doesn't want to come so that we will do a birth certificate of a child she's refusing the most problem is that the child need to register at school what must i do . Thanks
sk - 11-Feb-16 @ 9:40 AM
tel - Your Question:
My partner had 2 kids from two previous relationships and both kids were taken from her she's 8 months pregnant with my kid now but things are really rocky she's so moody and gets so childish when my son will be born I have a strong feeling g that she will never cope if I'm not around to help out as she will push me out completely where do I stand on getting fully custody for my child knowing she's had two taken away on two previous occasions plz help with some advice

Our Response:
Much depends on whether your partner puts your name on the birth certificate. If she does, it means you will have Parental Responsibility from birth. If she doesn't, then you will have to start the process of applying through the courts. Whether she puts your name on is up to her, please see link: What Rights do I have if I'm not on the Birth Certificate, here. I would advise doing as much reading on the subject as you can, especially if you feel your partner may push you out, as it will help you prepare for any eventualities that may happen. As far as custody is concerened, I have included another link here which highlights what the courts take into consideration when making the decision over who your child should live with. In the meantime, the best course of action you can take is to be there for your partner and child and hope that your family life calms down and you can play a positive part in both your partner's and child's life. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 10-Feb-16 @ 9:57 AM
My partner had 2 kids from two previous relationships and both kids were taken from her she's 8 monthspregnant with my kid now but things are really rocky she's so moody and gets so childish when my son will be born I have a strong feeling g that she will never cope if I'm not around to help out as she will push me out completely where do I stand on getting fully custody for my child knowing she's had two taken away on two previous occasions plz help with some advice
tel - 9-Feb-16 @ 2:28 PM
Can depression be used as emotionally damaging to the kids?.. I have agreed my ex will have my kids when we split so I can get my situation sorted and I'm getting kids back after .Been told the relationship is affecting the kids as well as myself so no choice than to leave and I don't want to be parted from my daughter as she's a baby of 6 yearsit hurts thinking about it.Dont want her to be subjected to my unhappiness and will contact them regularly .Nothing but resentment with relationship on both sides so staying is not a wise move.When I'm sorted how do I go about getting them back?
xgirl76 - 23-Jan-16 @ 7:53 PM
My son has sole custody of his children has done for past three years due to mothers drug habbit children havnt seen her for years she never showed up at the beggining when she had the chance to go to pre arranged supervised visits as long as she had a drug test speaks for it self why she didn't show up . We since heard she want to see her girls now she's clean got a job still bk living with her parents the children dnt want to see her they can't even remember her if she goes to court what is the Lickly outcome for the children does the judge take into consideration what the children want an does the mother have any rights beens the father has sole custody thanks
Grandma - 22-Jan-16 @ 8:17 PM
tom - Your Question:
Me and my daughter mother keep having arguments. We always at each other throats, whenever this happen we don't speak. This then leave me feeling I can't just go round to the house to see my daughter.she's a independent working mother who looks after her home and also my daughter she doesn't call or text me she doesn't ask me for anything. Could I win custody of my daughter so that she lives with me rather than her. I'm studying in university and I travel 3 4 time for the year. my daughters is only 5 months would I be able to make her live with me and the mother be the one to visit.oo

Our Response:
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. If your ex doesn't consent to you having custody, then the courts would decide what is in the best welfare of your child, and if there is no strong reason for the courts to remove the child from the mother, then they will not. Please see link: Applying for Custody: Court Procedure, here which shows a list of what the courts base their decisions upon.
SeparatedDads - 22-Jan-16 @ 1:47 PM
Me and my daughter mother keep having arguments. We always at each other throats, whenever this happen we don't speak. This then leave me feeling i can't just go round to the house to see my daughter..she's a independent working mother who looks after her home and also my daughter she doesn't call or text me she doesn't ask me for anything. Could i win custody of my daughter so that she lives with me rather than her... I'm studying in university and I travel 3 4 time for the year... my daughters is only 5 months would i be able to make her live with me and the mother be the one to visit.oo
tom - 21-Jan-16 @ 10:15 PM
i have a 3 year old daughter and up until 7 months i was a single perent in my paterners house off 8 people, i sufferd with hallucinations and postnatal depression my daughter was never hurt and was always checked by socail because off my time i would forget and i sufferd with epilepsy so when we agree its was for the best cos we was ingagged we wernt planning on slpitting up, i got lost in my own mind and hurt my partner alot and i do wish i can take it back to the poiomt i can explaint it in he thrid person view, i was under protecton on an off and have a medical history over the 2year with backs everything up in my stance and seen her a hamd full off times, i miss her soo much its kills me to understand the father dont think i care when iv had to protect her to the poiont off kidnapp from some else..... its nearly beein 11 months since iv seen her and its like i live my life without a part off myself, im crying writing this .... i dont know what to do
trueTHEA - 16-Jan-16 @ 9:42 AM
I have a 5 year old and 2 year I love both kids I do all the kids jobs goes to all the hospital appointments.. Even stayed at the hospital with my son.. My wife hits the kids I say don't and try to clarm them down after wards I have never hit my kids.. Now we are going to court as she wants sole custody what can I do to get sole custody
Sad father - 2-Jan-16 @ 7:16 PM
I am currently 39 weeks pregnant and asked my partner to leave my flat due to arguments.I feel trapped in a relationship with him and told him three months ago it was over. He took it bad said I was the one who has runied everything I wont see my son he will take him away from me because I suffer with depression and aniexty of which I have cbt for. He scares me is manipulative and recently said lets see how it goes bit I know I dont want this. Ive askrd him to leave its my flat and my name is the sole tennant. He has been done for fraud in the past and I want out of the relationship as this is sll he does. I feel I cant get him out whst are my rihts. Hes threatened to take my son wonce hes born away from me if I chuck him out
Ann - 27-Dec-15 @ 12:09 AM
Stablity vs a mother that now lives 160 miles away What do you think my chances are i allow regularcontact such as video calls most nights and she comes visits them when she can afford too... today will be her 4th visit with the kids since july Im worried as hell that when it does go to court she will win the kids back i have my lil girl in full time school and my boy goes to nursery 5days aweek eevn though its not mandatory i have social serivces invovment since she put the kids at by breaking into the house in august too and have see me plus i welcomed a famliy support officer too to stick her nose in also just really worried that my efforts some how stillwont out weight the mother my boy is 3 and very attached to me and my lil girl has always been by my side shes 5 in jan not sure when courts going to be but ive done all i can to play by the book and have had to jump a lot of hurdles to get this far thoughts on this matter p.s guys keep up the good work decent to know use guys have somewhere to turn too your time and and efforts are much appreciated
just me - 22-Dec-15 @ 8:32 AM
andy1r - Your Question:
Really quick question.have just been on fathers for justice site and they recommend that you do not use a solicitor but represent yourself, is that the better option and if so how do I go about it thanks

Our Response:
It is obviously your choice. Some dads prefer a solicitor to represent them, others prefer to have their own say and prepare their own cases as it gives them more control. Representing yourself can work very well and a lot of fathers have seen success doing it this way by preparing their cases well. The Bar Council offers excellent guidance via the link here.Remeber, the courts to want to make sure that it has all the details and information it needs, the last thing a judge wants is a waste of the court's time. The court is not a place for a slanging match and all a judge wants to work and make a decision upon is what is in the best interests of the child/children. Plus, representing yourself cuts court costs drastically. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 18-Dec-15 @ 11:04 AM
really quick question.... have just been on fathers for justice site and they recommend that you do not use a solicitor but represent yourself, is that the better option and if so how do I go about it thanks
andy1r - 17-Dec-15 @ 1:10 PM
Smee - Your Question:
I have a 5 year old daughter who I would like to have full custody of, how am I supposed to go about it? The mother is too busy with her job and university work to look after the child and she is left with various people most days and is always asking me for extra days and times to have her when that isn't what we agreed, this has only started when she started going to university.

Our Response:
Regardless of whether your ex is busy, with work/university does not mean your child is being neglected or not cared for properly (many lone resident-parents have to work full-time and beyond). It is unusual for the courts to decide to remove a child from one parent and hand him/her over to another unless necessary. The fact you are having your child more, means that you can work alongside your ex amicably in order to try to give your child the best possible care and perhaps work towards agreed shared-care of your daughter. If you decide to take the court route, it can be very stressful and upsetting for both you, your ex and your daughter, and destroy trust between parents. However, if you are concerned and can't work issues out between you and your ex, mediation is advised first.
SeparatedDads - 14-Dec-15 @ 11:01 AM
I have a 5 year old daughter who I would like to have full custody of, how am I supposed to go about it? The mother is too busy with her job and university work to look after the child and she is left with various people most days and is always asking me for extra days and times to have her when that isn't what we agreed, this has only started when she started going to university.
Smee - 11-Dec-15 @ 8:28 PM
I have recently separated from my partner. I have 2 boys, 1 of which I am the biological father (11months) and 1 who is 7yoa. Our relationship has deteriorated over the last 6months and we have now separated. She is in temp accommodation with both kids! Thing is, I left of my own accord due to heated arguments and provoking behaviour. I have went 10days now and have had NO contact what so ever! No phone calls and not as much as a text to say the boys are fine. I have no addictions, don't drink alcohol and only want what's best for ma boys. To add to this, she has 'i think' BPD (Borderline Personality Dissorder) and the more I analyse, the more clear it is that she has this. (CPN's and psychiatric pros have been recalled as this is a relapse) Myself, my family and her own mother strongly agree! Everything she does is for her benifit/satisfaction, not what's best for the kids. I fear for their safety as she is also medicated. Also, my 7yo is a total product of her manipulation techniques and is a part time babysitter for his 11 month old brother! Personally I don't deem that as safe enough. What do I do to make people realise how 'high risk' this is?! And how important it is that the boys are back in the care of the 'sole carer' and surrounded by a safe environment? (Which is important for there future)
Krisbo - 7-Dec-15 @ 8:08 PM
boss - Your Question:
Question just had a baby 3mths ago the father and I been seeing each still but we don't live together just wondering we been having our ups and down he drinks every night sometimes it one or three but weekends it till he nearly pass out he reckons the court will give him the baby coz I have other kids my oldest is 18yr which she has lefted home and some weekends he smoke drugs as well

Our Response:
It is rare that a court would take a child from the resident-parent and give it over to live with the non-resident parent. To do this the court would have to have a very good reason. The fact you have other children will make no difference to any court decision. If you feel threatened by his speech, and you think he may try to keep your child and not give your baby back (if he has parental responsibility) you could seek a residence order through the courts which would guarantee your status for having sole custody
SeparatedDads - 7-Dec-15 @ 2:19 PM
Question just had a baby 3mths ago the father and I been seeing each still but we don't live together just wondering we been having our ups and down he drinks every night sometimes it one or three but weekends it till he nearly pass out he reckons the court will give him the baby coz I have other kids my oldest is 18yr which she has lefted home and some weekends he smoke drugs as well
boss - 6-Dec-15 @ 2:17 AM
Alana - Your Question:
My new partner has a past in domestic abuse and violence, he's only been out for 9 months but has completely turned his life around in every aspect. My 16 month old daughter recently got introduced to him but her father has gone mental about it. We're currently going through the courts doing risk assessments and reports to see if my new partner is deemed a risk, baring in mind he has never been violent around or done anything to hurt children. All other details aside, if he isn't seen as a risk in the judges eyes, my ex said he still won't stand for me being in this relationship and will go for full custody. Could he still be granted full custody if all the social services reports and assessments are clear and risk free?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we couldn't predict what may happen in the courts. Your ex's concern is understandable, but it does not mean he will gain residency. Much will depend what goes into the reports and what the courts deem is in the best interests of your child.
SeparatedDads - 1-Dec-15 @ 2:43 PM
My new partner has a past in domestic abuse and violence, he's only been out for 9 months but has completely turned his life around in every aspect. My 16 month old daughter recently got introduced to him but her father has gone mental about it. We're currently going through the courts doing risk assessments and reports to see if my new partner is deemed a risk, baring in mind he has never been violent around or done anything to hurt children. All other details aside, if he isn't seen as a risk in the judges eyes, my ex said he still won't stand for me being in this relationship and will go for full custody. Could he still be granted full custody if all the social services reports and assessments are clear and risk free?
Alana - 30-Nov-15 @ 7:50 PM
Cleodora - Your Question:
I have a friend who is in a unhappy relationship and he want to leave his current partner. She has made threats that she would take his 3 year old daughter away from him and he won't ever see her. I feel this would end up going to court and I wanted some advice for him and how to go forward with this. Is there any way she canbe stopped taking her away. Would really appreciate some advice. Thanks.

Our Response:
You can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order through the courts. A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children. If the court finds that there are grounds to suspect the parent in question may take their child out of the area, then they may specify in the order that they do not do so. Failure to comply with this order is a criminal offence (often charged as kidnapping) and could result in a custodial sentence. However, please keep in mind there is no guarantee he will be awarded this, as if his ex can prove she has good reason for wishing to leave the area, such as a new job or family reasons, then she may also be permitted to do so and he would have to negotiate access on the back of this.
SeparatedDads - 20-Nov-15 @ 10:23 AM
I have a friend who is in a unhappy relationship and he want to leave his current partner. She has made threats that she would take his 3 year old daughter away from him and he won't ever see her. I feel this would end up going to court and I wanted some advice for him and how to go forward with this. Is there any way she canbe stopped taking her away. Would really appreciate some advice. Thanks.
Cleodora - 19-Nov-15 @ 12:41 PM
Hippymonk- Your Question:
Hi. I have the children living with me 2 boys, and I am trying to arrange visitation with their mother. She now lives over 100 miles away from us and has not seen the children for just over a month. She says she wants to see them but can not afford to visit even though I have offered to pay her petrol. She refused mediation and I have had to start a court case to make everything legal. She now says that she works 3 weekends a month but myself and the children do not belive her. Can cafcass, my solicitor or the courts look into this to see if it us true or if she is just making excuses as to not see the children? as they really want to know. Many thanks.

Our Response:
As sad as it is, I'm afraid there is little you can do to force a non-resident parent to see their children, if that's what they choose. You would need to speak with Cafcass directly and it will advice on the best course of action.
SeparatedDads - 3-Nov-15 @ 12:14 PM
Hi. I have the children living with me 2 boys, and i am trying to arrange visitation with their mother. She now lives over 100 miles away from us and has not seen the children for just over a month. She says she wants to see them but can not afford to visit even though i have offered to pay her petrol. She refused mediation and i have had to start a court case to make everything legal. She now says that she works 3 weekendsa month but myself and the children do not belive her. Can cafcass, my solicitor or the courts look into this to see if it us true or if she is just making excuses as to not see the children? as they really want to know. Many thanks.
Hippymonk - 2-Nov-15 @ 1:14 PM
Confused by law - Your Question:
After months of negotiating spending time with my kids whilst waiting for mediation, my ex now insists that she's had enough of it all and wants to sign residency of the children to me in the upcoming mediation. Me and my partner are more than happy to have the kids permanently and will obviously make the arrangements for their care and accommodation although these will be major changes that affect our jobs and housing situation. My question is, can she change her mind at any point and have them back or is there a definite point where it is binding?

Our Response:
There is no point where it is binding unless you take it through the courts. Mediation will facilitate the agreement, which will be put before the courts, if you wish the agreement to be made legally official. While any agreement made through mediation without it going to court, will not be legally binding, it does set a framework of documentation showing that your ex has agreed, which if she decided to change her mind, would be on record for the courts.
SeparatedDads - 28-Oct-15 @ 2:05 PM
After months of negotiating spending time with my kids whilst waiting for mediation, my ex now insists that she's had enough of it all and wants to sign residency of the children to me in the upcoming mediation.Me and my partner are more than happy to have the kids permanently and will obviously make the arrangements for their care and accommodation although these will be major changes that affect our jobs and housing situation.My question is, can she change her mind at any point and have them back or is there a definite point where it is binding?
Confused by law - 27-Oct-15 @ 4:11 PM
I have a daughter with someone I am not married to. I have been seeing my daughter every week for the last year since she was born and paying maintenance every month at an amount requested by her. I started taking cocaine again after nearly 5 years of sobriety in April. I went into rehab a month ago and am now clean again. The mother will only allow me very limited contact (this has always been the case) she wishes to reduce the contact I had previous down to once a month as she said she doesn't want her daughter getting too attached in case I relapse. She won't allow me to be put on the birth certificate (I understand that I can apply to the courts for this but obviously worried it may be denied because of my previous drug use). She will not allow me to see my daughter unless supervised by her or her parents at her house. I feel anxious about going to their house because of the agressive nature of her current boyfriend towards me and who seems to think he is now my daughters father. I understand that I have broken trust in the relationship between me and her mother and her family. Please does any one have advice in how I can move forward to having more time with my daughter than just once a month at her mothers house.
Ray - 3-Oct-15 @ 6:10 PM
I have a daughter with someone I am not married to. I have been seeing my daughter every week for the last year since she was born and paying maintenance every month at an amount requested by her. I started taking cocaine again after nearly 5 years of sobriety in April. I went into rehab a month ago and am now clean again. The mother will only allow me very limited contact (this has always been the case) she wishes to reduce the contact I had previous down to once a month as she said she doesn't want her daughter getting too attached in case I relapse. She won't allow me to be put on the birth certificate (I understand that I can apply to the courts for this but obviously worried it may be denied because of my previous drug use). She will not allow me to see my daughter unless supervised by her or her parents at her house. I feel anxious about going to their house because of the agressive nature of her current boyfriend towards me and who seems to think he is now my daughters father. I understand that I have broken trust in the relationship between me and her mother and her family. Please does any one have advice in how I can move forward to having more time with my daughter than just once a month at her mothers house.
Ray - 3-Oct-15 @ 5:51 PM
I am living in uk from last 9 years. I was married to someone I got spouse visa after separating I withdraw sponsorship then I divorced her. I have a daughter who's almost 5 years old. My x wife don't allow me to see her coz she don't want this. And she claims that I'm a bad person, Which I am not. She has taken prohibited step orders against me saying that I have thretend her for life. Which is again wrong. I want the full custody of my daughter one of the solicitors I met told me that I can have 50% custody if I live near by and if I can take care of baby. (I'm married again and my wife lives with me) I live about 3 miles away from my ex's place. Is it Wright that I can have 50% of custody ?
Maisam - 27-Sep-15 @ 10:16 AM
Stillalive - Your Question:
Hi There, I am currently married to my partner who has borderline, and pulls her hair out.She isn't on any medication, I have asked her to please see the doctor. She went last week, but I am worried that she didn't tell them correctly. She sees her self as normal.Her family has disowned her, and mine now have too. She had a bad mental moment last weekend.And I have a 2,5 year old with her. He is seeing this happen.It breaks my heart. Life is extremely hard with her.I have tried and tired to make it work for the sake of my son. But I am worried for his mental upbringing around her, and its harder that she doesn't understand what she is doing wrong. And every time she explodes, everything must be forgotten 5 minutes after and carry on like "normal". Reason me writing on this blog is, I am thinking about getting a divorce as I cannot handle this anymore and I am diabetic so this is effecting me there. I would like to know what are my rights, and would I be able to get full custody ? We have just recently moved over to Uk.Thank you.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Perhaps you could visit the doctors with her, or go an ask your GP to advise what to do under the circumstances. This is something that obviously needs addressing and I have included a Rethink Mental Illness: 'supporting someone with a mental illness', link here which also asks the question: 'how do I encourage the person I care for to get treatment?' I cannot say whether you would get residency of your child. Therefore, if you are worried then you will first need to tackle the issues of your partner, as there is no guarantee that if it went to court you would be granted the order to become the main carer of your son. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 21-Sep-15 @ 12:18 PM
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