Home > Legal > Your Separated Father's Rights

Your Separated Father's Rights

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 4 Nov 2022 | comments*Discuss
 
Rights Parental Responsibility Civil

When you've split up with your ex it's important to know what your rights and responsibilities are regarding your children. The most important thing is to determine whether or not you have parental responsibility for your children. In the case of married couples, you're responsible for any children born in wedlock.

Unmarried Couples

In general terms, an unmarried mother is deemed to have "parental responsibility" for her children. For births registered in England or Wales; as a father you have parental responsibility if:
  • The child's birth was registered after December 1st, 2003 and your name is on the certificate as the father.
  • If the child was born before that time with no father listed on the birth certificate, but the birth was later re-registered with you named as the father.
  • If you and the child's mother sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement.
  • If you're given a parental responsibility order by the court, or a Residence Order for the child to live with you.
  • If you marry the child's mother.

If the parents are not married, parental responsibility does not automatically pass to the natural father if the mother dies.

Same Sex Couples

With same sex couples, after a civil partnership, you have parental responsibility if you have a parental responsibility agreement or a parental responsibility order from the court.

What Parental Responsibility Means for your Rights as a Dad

If you have parental responsibility, you have a say in the upbringing of your children, even if they don't live with you any more.

However, this doesn't apply to the general, day-to-day life of your children; that will lie with the mother if they live with her. But in other questions, such as religion, upbringing, medical treatment and so on, you have the same rights in making decisions as the mother.

So what rights does parental responsibility give you?

Important Decisions - we've already mentioned that decisions on everyday matters lie with the parent who has residency. But if you have parental responsibility, even as the non-resident parent - you have the right to be consulted over important issues such as:
  • Changing schools
  • Going on holidays with others/other organisations etc
  • Serious medical issues
  • Changing surname
  • Emigration
  • Their marriage
  • Adoption

Once your child gets older, he or she may express their opinions and you may feel that your parental responsibility rights are reduced. At this stage, it is therefore important to consider the wishes of the child in major decisions too.

For more details on parental responsibility, take a look at our guide and letter templates.

If you feel your rights are being ignored and you have parental responsibility, you can apply for a specific steps order or a specific issue order. More information about those can be found here:
Specific Issue Orders.

Applying to the Courts

As a father you can apply to the court for parental responsibility. The court will consider:
  • How committed you are as a father
  • The attachment between you and your child
  • Your reasons for applying for the order

Based on what the judge believes to be in the child's best interests they will either accept or grant your application for parental responsibility.

If you've been part of a couple where the children are yours and you don't have parental responsibility, you can still apply to court for certain types of orders, mostly Contact Orders to see the children, but even for a Residence Order to have the children live with you (if granted, you'll then have parental responsibility).

Note that if your former partner has a Residence Order, she can take your children abroad for up to a month without your consent. However, if the trip is longer, or she plans on moving abroad with the children, she will need the consent of both you and anyone else who has parental responsibility for the children. However, if you wish to take your children abroad for a holiday, it's a tougher issue, and legally you're advised to have her agreement first. (Taking a child abroad without the mother's consent can be deemed as abduction in the eyes of the law. Read our article What is Abduction? for more information).

Child Maintenance

Parental responsibility also means you have the duty to support your children financially. If you already have a case ongoing this will probably be done either through the Child Support Agency (CSA) or by an arranged agreement between you and the child's mother. In general terms, you'll pay 15% of your net income for one child, 20% for two and 25% for three children. However, there are adjustments, depending on how much time the children spend with you. If you move abroad, support will be done through the court rather than the CSA. Note that from 25 November 2013, the Child Support Agency (CSA) no longer takes on new cases but will continue to deal with existing cases. The new body handling maintenance issues is the Child Maintenance Service.

When Does Parental Responsibility End?

Your parental responsibility to your children ends when they turn 18 and become legal adults. However, if they're over 16 and marry, it ends with the marriage. If you've obtained parental responsibility through a Residence Order, though, and that Residence Order changes, you don't lose parental responsibility.

You should be aware that if you weren't married to the mother of your children, you're on slightly trickier ground, even if you have your name on the birth certificate or a parental responsibility agreement or order. In that case, any other person with parental responsibility can apply to court to have your parental responsibility ended. Even your children can do that, if they acquire permission from the court.

Court

To help prepare you for going to court for residency or contact, we have a free, comprehensive guide to the whole process here.

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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I would like to apologise for the spam messages, they where not to be taking seriously. Apparently there is this 18 girl that I'm on the birth certificate thing is I haven't seen her sence she very little .and she wants nothing to do with me.so I will respect her wishes because she is adult with her own life .that's life happens to every guy .so there is really not much I can do about it now. But I won't posting silly posts ever again.
Chris - 4-Nov-22 @ 1:10 PM
I a waiting for the District Judge to give me directions to what happens next? After completing a DAPP 26 week she ordered me to do before I can see my 5 kids, its been 15 months since I last was with them, So the Judge has had my DAPP report since 13th September 22 but has not had the decency to reply as I have asked her do I need to do anything else to get contact, but nothing from her? I have phoned the Court but admin just tell me they are also waiting on the Judge directions, call me paranoid but I rubbed up the Judge the wrong way in the Directions & fact finding hearing & she took a dislike to my behaviour & demeanour yes I know not too clever of me but was going through a breakdown, seperation & divorce at the time so my head was not with it, I have completed her punishment & moved on trying to concentrate on what matters my 5 kids since the court proceedings, This Mickey mouse Judge is playing God, So has anyone got any advice or been in this situation & know what happens next? Be much appreciated cheers Pacer
Pacer - 9-Oct-22 @ 10:13 PM
Stop Sam you dont have a clueyour the dumb ass ,you can have precious little daughter and rasie her with all your random partners. You want truth I gave up 15 years ago after you (jailed) me .so deep down I have so much hatred for you( so stay away from me )because I will bash your old 50 year old ass and must likely slit your throat thats( gods truth) .for the record you are a worthless shank just used up hooker .do you know what my first impression off you was a worthless slut the father off your son just committed suicide and here you are in the pub toilet gettinggangbanged ha ha .you are trash and there is no way that daughter off yours is mine.
C laurie - 29-Aug-22 @ 12:21 AM
Hi. I've been trying to contact the mother of our daughter for many days to which she has ignored my calls... I have evidence of her declining my calls and also answering my call from a different number speaking and then after hearing me ask about seeing our daughter and she hung up. Do I have a case?? What should my next move be?? I don't wanna turn up to the house in case I get accused of anything as well. Pls help
Jolie14 - 28-Aug-22 @ 5:43 PM
I'm so lucky I never had to pay support or have the burden off looking after a child .I dont class myself as a disgusting father I class myself as a guy who never had children .I want even date women with children there is just to much baggage and dealing with the children's fathers thats just something I dont want to do .I was all for the mother changing her daughters name and letting mark have parental rights I would off signed the papers 15 years ago I told her that the day she left .(in reality I dont ever want to see this child and I know the mother will respect my wishes).
C laurie - 18-Aug-22 @ 11:01 PM
I’ve booked a holiday with my partner to take my daughter abroad my ex was all happy for me to do this now she found out why my daughter was staying with us me and my current partner had a disagreement my daughter is not allowed to go because she is branding me as a disgusting father is still allowing me to see her she’s holding the cards what do I do
Kev - 18-Aug-22 @ 4:24 PM
@sam,if you wanted a guy to take you to court im the wrong guy .go play your games with Gordon or jacbo or whoever eles you where seeing .(in reality I look down on women like you )you are that screwed up in the head that you think your a catch wellsorry to burst your bubble every women out there thinks the same ha ha ha .in reality you belong with Sum one like Gordon aold tradie like my dad .I just can't understand there thinking most likely it's age difference different generation. But in my opinion that's your level .so you should set you sights on Sum one like that.
Chris - 9-Jun-22 @ 7:19 AM
@sam,just quit seriously( I don't care who you date or where you move to ).I have no interest in seeing your daughter in case you forgot your daughter is a (adult with her own life) .I'm just grateful I (never have to deal or interact with sum one like you) .you should be able to work out bye now there will be no court cases or c100 filled out (obviously).for the millon time the day you left that was it I'm a men few words but in heart (I was happy to see the back off you and your kids) .now go focus on new men or women .(instead off been on pointless blogs )
Chris - 9-Jun-22 @ 6:51 AM
Really struggling, i have not seen my 2 sons 6&4 for almost 9 months. I have had them as much as allowed by the mother since the split and after a new guy came on the scene they have moved 5 times and access and contact dwindled away.I have instigated a court date with the C100 form and spoken to Cafcas indicating that she was abusive. The FHDRA is soon and i have been asked for a statement of our relationship and the abuse, as she placed a counter abuse claim, which i have sent to court. I have not however been asked for position statement which is worrying as this states what i would like toput in place. Any advice?
Boo - 8-Jun-22 @ 10:21 AM
My friend has found out thathe fathered a child 20+ years ago and wants to attempt contact, he has very limiteddetails of the mother and isn't sure what surnamehis child wouldhave. Is there a way of trackingdown such a relative and how? Thank
Nardine - 5-Jun-22 @ 6:18 PM
Recently split from my partner out of spite she has left me off the birth certificate and she won’t let me have any time with my daughter. I want joint custody 3 days a week and every other weekend. I believe she’s suffering from postnatal depression as she’s behaving irrational. Being apart from daughter is absolutely killing me. I want to be able to co parent. I want my family to be able to spend time with my daughter. My ex partner is insisting that we go to court and she has previously done this with a previous partner and knows how to play the system. I really need help. Thanks Ben Kershaw
Ben - 4-Jun-22 @ 6:44 AM
I’m living with anxiety and depression because of my wife, I can’t contact her to see my son because she blocked me and i end up sending an email but her mom reported me to the police and i got arrested for harassment!! And i must pay child maintenance and I can’t see my son I don’t know what to do
Abdullah - 8-Oct-21 @ 12:11 AM
I want to see my child's ?? Please help me I divorced my ex wife and she took my kids She allowed me to see first but now she stopped me to see my kids
Nawaz - 14-Jun-21 @ 7:44 AM
My ex died and her parents will not let me see my child , what rights do I have if any and how long it’s the court process ? I already know it’s expensive but I seem to be getting nowhere at all , help
Bigpoppapump - 11-May-21 @ 12:52 PM
Me and my wife have arguments for months and suddenly she left and and put charges on me (which she couldn’t prove) now she took both kids and moved in other country first i used to contact kids over the phone voice call video call and suddenly kids dont want to talk to me any more i have court case running in that country (kids stopped talking to me after she recived court papers) I haven’t seen my kids face-to-face over year (she has brain washed the kids) what will happen if kids say in court they dont want too see me ?? Will judge still give me right to see kids
Personal - 6-May-21 @ 11:24 AM
Disgusting revolting daughters in law. Why my son married such a person? She made ‘all the right noises’ to get him!But basically she was desperate and myson had no ‘local knowledge’ of this female and she ‘acted’ until she ‘got him’. She put on a sweet lovely voice all the while. Then when they had been married for 2 x weeks my boy realised what a terrible mistake he had made! ThenI actually got to seemy beautiful son as a grown man cry and sob!. The courts are on the side of the mother and don't let any solicitor tell you different! They say a father has a chance to get custardy but in reality they dont!!!Sorry you caring lovingfathers out there as my son and his family have been through the year from hell!You fathers deserve more thanyou are getting and I very much hope the Law will wise upto this fact. I don't want to tell you this because as a grandmother I have observed and I wish it was different for Dads, but one unfeeling and manipulative and uncultured woman can and will make your life hell on legs! I wish I had the power to put things right for you. And if I was. judge I would hope that I could see through all of those lies and never join in with the status quo. Just continue to fight my friend! You Dad’s are valuable and much loved.
Art - 31-Dec-20 @ 3:29 AM
Disgusting revolting daughters in law. Why my son married such a person? She made ‘all the right noises’ to get him!But basically she was desperate and myson had no ‘local knowledge’ of this female and she ‘acted’ until she ‘got him’. She put on a sweet lovely voice all the while. Then when they had been married for 2 x weeks my boy realised what a terrible mistake he had made! ThenI actually got to seemy beautiful son as a grown man cry and sob!. The courts are on the side of the mother and don't let any solicitor tell you different! They say a father has a chance to get custardy but in reality they dont!!!Sorry you caring lovingfathers out there as my son and his family have been through the year from hell!You fathers deserve more thanyou are getting and I very much hope the Law will wise upto this fact. I don't want to tell you this because as a grandmother I have observed and I wish it was different for Dads, but one unfeeling and manipulative and uncultured woman can and will make your life hell on legs! I wish I had the power to put things right for you. And if I was. judge I would hope that I could see through all of those lies and never join in with the status quo. Just continue to fight my friend! You Dad’s are valuable and much loved.
Art - 31-Dec-20 @ 3:29 AM
Disgusting revolting daughters in law. Why my son married such a person? She made ‘all the right noises’ to get him!But basically she was desperate and myson had no ‘local knowledge’ of this female and she ‘acted’ until she ‘got him’. She put on a sweet lovely voice all the while. Then when they had been married for 2 x weeks my boy realised what a terrible mistake he had made! ThenI actually got to seemy beautiful son as a grown man cry and sob!. The courts are on the side of the mother and don't let any solicitor tell you different! They say a father has a chance to get custardy but in reality they dont!!!Sorry you caring lovingfathers out there as my son and his family have been through the year from hell!You fathers deserve more thanyou are getting and I very much hope the Law will wise upto this fact. I don't want to tell you this because as a grandmother I have observed and I wish it was different for Dads, but one unfeeling and manipulative and uncultured woman can and will make your life hell on legs! I wish I had the power to put things right for you. And if I was. judge I would hope that I could see through all of those lies and never join in with the status quo. Just continue to fight my friend! You Dad’s are valuable and much loved.
Art - 31-Dec-20 @ 3:27 AM
My 15 year old son has become a father and the mother not let him have access to the child which is destroying him, do we have any rights to see the child?
Lol - 18-Dec-20 @ 6:18 PM
I have been trying to register with this forum for over a year, but either the registration is immediately refused because I am a suspected spammer, or it seems to go through and I hear nothing more. Contacting Admin via the contact us page also has no response. How can new members join the forum please?
LondonGuy - 8-Dec-20 @ 2:54 PM
Our Son has recently separate from his Fiancee. They have a two year old Daughter. He has recently received a letter from a solicitor following their separation. The letter states that: 'Our Son's Partner wishes to sever the joint tenancy held by our son and his ex-partner now held as joint tenants both in law and in equity. This means that you and your ex partner hold the property as tenants in common'. Could anybody advice what we should do please. Our Son is a full time student with no income or funds for legal fees. Thank you.
George - 5-Dec-20 @ 2:26 PM
Hi i have 2 daughters in london which i didnt see for 3 years iam not living in uk iam living sweden and my x not allowing me to see them and i went many time to uk and tried with her family and friends to let me see them but she doesnt want and the reason was when we were married she left them outside the uk with my parents and she said she gonna leave them for one month summer holidays and she left them for 8 months and i brought them back to uk as i work in sweden and she moved from swedenback and shelives in london but left them there because she find a job and they were so young 3 years old and 2 years old and she left them with their old grandparents. The question is there and legal way to see them even at school ?
Le reda - 25-Nov-20 @ 6:12 AM
hi my ex is telling me what i can and can't do with my kids when have them is she aloud to do that
russ - 8-Nov-20 @ 9:22 AM
Myself and my child’s mother separated in 2009. Ihad to take her to court as she stopped me from seeing my son, I from then have him every other weekend, 2 weeks in holidays, bank holidays and extra days in between if we do anything as we want him involved, I have always paid child maintenance and feel proud to do so. Since the pandemic started my job was on the line to which I was made redundant July. I have found a few jobs since but they were just to get me and my family by. I have now started a job I enjoy it is a huge wage drop but in my eyes still an income but it entails I have to work some weekends!! For reasons my wife and step daughters will not be left alone with my son so I have had to let his mum know on some weekends that he is due to be with us I have to work but have put to her during the week I can pick him up from school take him out and if I’m off on her weekends we will have him. She is just so unhelpful with it all. If I wasn’t working and I couldn’t pay her the child maintenance she would take me to court I just cannot win. I don’t want to not see my son I just need her help to rearrange on certain weekends.
Woohbies - 6-Oct-20 @ 7:25 AM
I have 3 children to a boyfriend that has left me. He gives me £80 a month out of his £1000 a week wage to support the children, that’s everything, meals, washing school trips the lot. I have now moved back to my home town 30 miles away from him. Now out of the children’s money he is expecting me to pay half of his costs to come see his children. I do not drive so would have to take the children on a 2 hour bus ride from Hull to Grimsby or pay him petrol money to come pick them up. Please let me know your comments. Nix
Nix - 28-Sep-20 @ 4:34 PM
Hi All, I have been trying to see my 2 year old daughter for 11 months. i have been trough courts and still going through them. why does all the power on when i see my daughter still with the mother when she does all the crazy things and i am being treated like i have committed crimes? it seems i have no power no PR, who said the ex can dictate when or not i can see my daughter? What about the damage she is doing to my daughter, and i say that my daughter should be with me? how does this work in the 21st century still that by default the child stays with mum even though i had my daughter 60% of the time when we was together and i was the one who always put my daughter to bed every night for nearly 2 years while the ex was asleep on the couch.
wdjace - 17-Sep-20 @ 6:33 PM
If my daughter is being christened do I have a choice to reject it cause I’m none religious and where not together as a family anymore can I stop it
Micky - 16-Sep-20 @ 1:22 AM
I have my 10 year old daughter living with me as of 2 months ago. I have joint responsibility with her mother and no legal agreements since we split. I’ve reduced work hours and taken child benefit and am about to claim benefits. My child’s mother is living in the marital home and is refusing to pay the mortgage. It will be repossessed after the government block ends in October. If I go to court can I get her removed on the grounds it’s the family home and she no longer has the child living with her ? Many thanks
Gt1000uk - 10-Sep-20 @ 6:54 PM
Hello my ex who is my babies dad he wants to have the children on his own and stay with him but he has always told me that when he gets them he’s gonna take them but that was 3 yearsago now I have some trust issues with this situation and I want some advise if it was the chase that he dose take them how would I be able to get them back or what would I do
Zade - 7-Sep-20 @ 6:59 PM
My current partner has split from his daughters mother and had nothing but problems. The mother tells him when he can see her, more often than not she cancels the day before cause she has plans. She stopped him seeing her for approximately 6months and this was devastating for him. Now she has to move and is saying that she doesn't know how he will see his daughteras she isn't going to tell him where they are living. This situation is made even worst as his daughter is disabled and cant make choices for herself. He needs help
rainyday88 - 3-Sep-20 @ 8:52 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • LALA
    Re: When Your Ex Gets a New Partner
    Amazing Love Spell To Get Back With your Partner and Fix Your Broken Relationship  WHATSAPP+2349161779461 My wife broke up…
    14 June 2024
  • Clara Fredrick
    Re: When Your Ex Gets a New Partner
    I am so happy to share this fantastic testimony of mine. My life has changed round completely in 48hours. I can see myself in…
    10 June 2024
  • Christine Wilson
    Re: When Your Ex Gets a New Partner
    I WON THE LOTTERY TWICE:: My name is Christine Wilson of Attleborough, A Massachusetts woman who miraculously cashed in her…
    9 June 2024
  • Saddleup
    Re: Child maintenance: What am I paying for?
    My ex and I had an arrangement regarding child maintenance but she's now decided to get the Child Maintenance…
    6 June 2024
  • Genevive Brown
    Re: When Your Ex Gets a New Partner
    Hello everyone, my name is Elliot Anderson from Canada. I have always wanted to be able to not live paycheck to paycheck or…
    1 June 2024
  • EMILY NOAH
    Re: When Your Ex Gets a New Partner
    When I found Dr.Oniha I was in desperate need of bringing my ex lover back. He left me for another woman. It happened so fast…
    31 May 2024
  • Jonathan
    Re: Can I Charge My Ex's New Boyfriend Rent?
    I have an eight year old daughter. Her mother is Polish and we were together for 14 yrs. Sadly we split up three…
    30 May 2024
  • Clara Fredrick
    Re: When Your Ex Gets a New Partner
    I am so happy to share this fantastic testimony of mine. My life has changed round completely in 48hours. I can see myself in…
    17 May 2024
  • Clara Fredrick
    Re: When Your Ex Gets a New Partner
    I am so happy to share this fantastic testimony of mine. My life has changed round completely in 48hours. I can see myself in…
    10 May 2024
  • Nina Williams
    Re: When Your Ex Gets a New Partner
    My name is Nina Williams, and I am divorced. I have three kids with my ex-husband, who messed up my credit report before we…
    7 May 2024