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What rights do Fathers have in the UK?

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

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What does the court say about father's rights?




In England and Wales, there is a general rule that the right of the child is to have a relationship with both their mother as well as their father. Both the parents have the right to provide care and think about the best interest and welfare of the child. It is also the parent's responsibility to provide food, shelter, and clothes to the child.


However, the father's right to a child may differ depending on whether the father has parental responsibility of the child, which depends on:

  • If the father of the child was married or unmarried to the Child’s mother at the time of birth

  • Whether the name of the father has been mentioned on the birth certificate of the child

  • Whether the father has any sort of parental responsibility towards the child via a parental responsibility order from the court or a parental responsibility agreement with the mother.

What rights do fathers have to see their children?


According to the law in England and Wales, both parents have parental responsibilities toward the child and the child has the right to have a good relationship with both his/her father and mother.


Thus, according to law the father's right to see his child is the same as that of the mother.


Usually, the court will consider if a child can see their parents based on their relationship with the parents and whether it is for the welfare and best interest of the child.


In the case of separation of parents, it is often noticed that parents are unable to reach an agreement on how many times a father can contact the child after separation. In such cases, the father can apply to the court to obtain an order to contact his child legally.


Can a mother legally stop a father from seeing his child?


No, legally a mother cannot stop a father from seeing his child until and unless there are specific and valid reasons for stopping contact.


Generally, neither of the parents has the right to restrict the other parent from seeing the child. However, the exception to this aforementioned rule is in case there is a risk regarding the welfare of the child. If there are any chances of possible harm or risk to the child, then a parent has the right stop the other parent from seeing his child.


Can a mother stop a father from seeing his child?

To prevent a parent (ie the father) from having access to the child, the other parent (ie the mother) would have to prove in court that there would be a risk to the child's welfare if the child was to have contact with the other parent. In such cases, the court may make decisions regarding the following;

  • When the father will see or meet the child

  • How the father will see the child i.e. supervised contact and direct contact

  • Whether the father can see the child at all

  • How long the father can see or meet the child

Also, a parent has the may restrict the other parent’s access to see their child if that is surrounded by drugs, abuse, neglect or any such criminal behaviour which puts the child at risk.


Does a mother have more rights than the father?


Parental responsibility gives a parent rights over the child.


It is often presumed that the mothers have more rights over the child than fathers but that is not the case. It is to be noted that if both parents have parental responsibility towards the child, then the responsibilities and rights of both father and mother are equal.


Under the laws of the United Kingdom, it is very much clear that the biological mother of a child automatically gets parental responsibility towards the child.


In case the parents are married then, the father also gets the parental responsibility as the mother. However, if the biological father of the child is not married to the mother/ does not have his name on the child’s birth certificate then he can obtain parental responsibility of the child by granting a court order or marrying the mother, or by signing a formal agreement of parental responsibility.


In the case that the father does not have parental responsibility, it can be said that the father will have fewer rights in comparison to the mother of the child.


Does a father have parental responsibility?


Yes, a father has parental responsibility if he is married to the biological mother of the child when the child is born, or if the father marries the mother of the child at any point of time after the birth of the child.


If the father is unmarried to the mother of the child but his name is mentioned on the birth certificate of the child, then a father has parental responsibility.


The unmarried fathers can get parental responsibility for the child. To obtain parental responsibility for the children, unmarried fathers can to do the following;

  • By marrying the biological mother of the child

  • By signing a formal agreement with the biological mother of the child mentioning the conditions of having parental responsibility

  • By getting a court order for parental responsibility order


Does a father have parental responsibility?

In most cases, unmarried fathers obtain parental responsibility through a formal agreement with the mother. In some conditions this may not be possible, in those cases the father has the right to apply to the court to get the parental responsibility. While granting the parental responsibility order, the court will consider the commitment of the father towards the child and will also consider the welfare and best interest of the child.


How We Can help you regarding Father’s Rights?


We at Court Help Limited are specialized in family court matters including father's rights by drafting statements and applications. Our legal team has rich experience and knowledge to assist you in the documentation and paperwork involved in such cases. Apart from father’s rights, we also specialize in various family law matters such as child custody, divorce settlement, domestic violence, etc.


To know more about father’s rights in England, check out some of our other related articles which are available here.


In case you are facing any such issues concerned with family law matters, do not hesitate to contact us. You can read our reviews here. At the bottom of the page, there is a Quick Contact Form, you can fill it out or email us at help@incourt.co.uk or call us at 07375757510.


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




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