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What rights do Fathers have to see their child?

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

Fathers have rights. Full Stop. Though termed as Parental Responsibility in the law, Fathers have rights & responsibilities that they can exercise. The question of a father’s right of access to his children frequently takes the headlines, and we often hear of some sad stories of fathers who are not allowed to see their children if the parents are split. After a divorce or separation, children frequently wind up living with just one parent, automatically having relatively restricted contact with the other parent. Divorce has its harmful consequences and invariably favours one side over the other, which is an indisputable fact


Fathers right to see their child
Father & Son

In these circumstances, after the divorce, many parents frequently take the view that English law favours women when issues of child contact and custody arise. The fathers often feel that they have no right to visit their children. A parent, be it a mother or a father who lives in the UK, has the right to take care of their child. However, what if the mother cannot agree? What can the father do to guarantee his rights to visit his children?


What are the rights of fathers over his child?

According to the law, parents are accountable to their children, and that the child is entitled to a continuous and meaningful connection with both parents. As per the law, this relationship between the child and the parents shall be maintained by a court as long as it is safe and acceptable. Both parents are responsible for their offspring. Responsibilities to the child mean attending to every kind of need of the child, be it: emotional, physical, psychological, or economic. Both parents have a shared duty to ensure that all the requirements of a child are satisfied and that their child is given the greatest chance in life to flourish and fulfil their potentials.


What are a father’s parenting responsibilities?



The English law states that parenting includes all the rights, obligations, powers, responsibilities, and authority that a parent of a child has with respect to the child and the property of the child. The parent has a duty to make significant choices in the life of the child


regarding matters such as:

• Medical care and health

• The school that the child attends

• Naming and altering the name of a child



• Religious education

• Foreign vacations and excursions with others

It also provides that a parent has a duty to make the daily choices for a child, such as where the child may go, with whom, and what to eat.


Parental duty of married fathers


Parental responsibility is automatically imposed on all fathers in the UK who are married to their child’s mother or having their names on their child’s birth certificate.



Parental responsibility of unmarried fathers

If a father is not married to the mother of their child or their name is not on the birth certificate, then he will not immediately have parental responsibility. He may petition the courts or come to an agreement and enter into a contract with the mother for parental responsibility.


The court will examine the best interests of the child before awarding any parental responsibility. The court usually looks at factors such as the father’s commitment to the child, his attachment to the child, and his reasons for asking for an order.

However, the parents can reach an agreement on parental responsibility. An agreement on parental responsibility might be suitable for:

• An unmarried father whose name is not on the certificate of birth.

• A father who marries and desires parental responsibility for the child of a new partner.


Are the rights of a mother and the father the same?

As stated earlier, the law rules that both the parents have a duty to their children and that the child has a right to have a continuous and meaningful connection with both parents. As long as this is in the best interest and well-being of the child, the court generally takes the child’s right to a connection with both parents seriously. Thus, a father’s rights over his child are thus as much in the eyes of the law as the mother’s.


Many divorcing parents frequently cannot agree on how much a father will have contact with the child due to tensions after a separation. In these situations, the father may have to request legal contact with his child from the family court.


What is the right of access to fathers during the marriage?

A father has the same right to contact and to look after his children as a mother. When parents are ideally separated, parents establish a co-parenting agreement. If a father wants to play a more important part in caring for their children and cannot agree with their ex, then he can take some extra measures to achieve that. Sometimes, a properly written letter from a family lawyer can assist the ex-wife in understanding the father’s point of view by presenting his suggestions. If this method does not work, then mediation is an alternative. Mediation is the process of getting down with a neutral third party to examine the issue and to make a case for each side in the expectation that they may achieve a mutually acceptable solution by openly discussing the scenario. Many parents who split agree that their children would reside with them and sometimes visit the other parent. Sadly, it is not always feasible to agree, particularly if emotions in the collapse of a relationship are very strong.


What are the rights of fathers to the children after marriage?

A child has a right to see his father and to maintain a continuous connection with his father after the divorce. The mother should ideally urge the child to see and have time with the father. A father is as entitled to contact the child as a mother. A father married that is mentioned on the birth certificate has a parental obligation for a child. The father does not lose parental responsibility when he separates or divorces the mother. If parents ideally split, a co-parenting arrangement should be established if feasible. If parents cannot reach an agreement, mediation or legal counsel should be consulted. Very frequently, the legal counsels’ help may lead to an agreement about a father seeing his child. If there is no friendly agreement, a father who was married to a mother or who was mentioned on his birth certificate can apply to the court in order to acquire his rights over the child.


Please feel free to contact us if you need additional information.


This article is NOT legal advice and should not be treated as legal advice.