What are a “Father rights” in the UK when it comes to having access to his children, who live with his estranged wife?
The separation of a family can be distressing for all parties involved. Emotions run high, and it can be difficult to reach an agreement that everyone sees as fair. For this reason, as a father, it is important to know what your rights and responsibilities are regarding your children.
What are a “Fathers rights”?
UK law does not distinctly recognise “Fathers rights” or Parental rights for that matter. It is concerned with parental responsibility, which is a legal status that means you have a duty to care for and protect your children. A Father’s rights to his children will depend on whether or not they hold parental responsibility.
How do I know if I have parental responsibility?
Although some find this an out-dated principle, a Mother will automatically have parental responsibility for her child from birth.
A Father will have parental responsibility if he is married to the child’s mother or listed on the birth certificate.
I do have parental responsibility, what are my rights?
If your children live with your estranged wife, she is the parent with residency, and her rights will differ from yours. As you still have parental responsibility for the children you do have a say in the upbringing of your children and will have the right to make decisions regarding the following (examples only):
• Giving consent to medical treatment.
• Choosing their schools.
• Choosing their surname.
• Choosing their religion.
If you’re a child under 18 you are still able to apply.
However you will not have the right to decide on ‘everyday matters’, this responsibility will lie with the parent who has residency. The parent with residency will also be able to take your children out of the country for up to a month without your permission. If they wish to take them away for longer she will need your permission.
Will I have visitation rights?
If you are on civil terms with your ex-partner, you may wish to organise visitation independently. Coordinating visitation outside the court has multiple benefits as it avoids the costly, time-consuming court process and allows both partners to make requests and voice opinions.
In situations where this is not possible you will need to apply for a contact order. Following your application, you will be assessed to determine what visitation you are given.
Further information about this can be found here:
I do not have parental responsibility. How can I apply?
To apply for parental responsibility you have to be directly connected to the child or children. If your partner agrees to give you parental responsibility, then you will need to fill in a parental responsibility agreement. Applications for Parental Responsibility Agreements for parents and step-parents can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/parental-rights-responsibilities/apply-for-parental-responsibility
If you cannot agree on parental responsibility with your ex-partner, you can apply for a court order. The court order will cost £215.
The children are your main priority.
Parental disputes are often emotion fuelled and long-standing as parents care for their children more than anything in the world. A child’s rights state that a parent must ensure their child is safe from harm, has somewhere to live, has food, clothing, medical care and education and is financially supported. Your role in maintaining these rights is the most important thing. If you have any doubts, questions or frustrations regarding parental agreements seek support and further guidance.
If you need to get further advice regarding a Father Rights, you can speak to a Solicitor online on Talk2Solicitors.co.uk to get the legal advice that you need.