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The Law and Single Fathers

Author: Anna Martin - Updated: 4 December 2013 | commentsComment
 
Parental Responsibility Father Parent

Unless a single father has a Parental Responsibility Agreement or Order he has few legal rights, regarding his children. A single father does however have the right to make a court application for contact. He also has responsibilities to his child, which mean it is his obligation to ensure his child is properly looked after and supported emotionally, physically and financially.

The Lack Of Legal Rights

If an unmarried father jointly registers the birth of his child he automatically has Parental Responsibility. If he does not jointly register his child however, the father has no rights over the child, and can only act on their behalf in an emergency. Having no legal rights over his child means that the single father has no say over the naming of the child, his/her religion, where the child should be educated, what kind of medical treatment they can have or even over the child’s adoption. The father also has no access to the child’s official documents or medical records, and is not able to get a passport for the child.

The child’s father does however have to pay Child Support on demand,but is entitled to apply for a Parental Responsibility Order if the mother of the child is unwilling to agree to a Parental Responsibility Agreement.

How Can A Father Acquire Parental Rights?

If communication with the child’s mother is open, simply asking for Parental Responsibility may be all it requires. If she is happy to agree all a father has to do is download a Parental Responsibility form from the Internet, sign it and send it off to court. If the child’s mother doesn’t sign a Parental Responsibility form however, the father is able to make a direct application to the courts.

On reviewing an application from a father the court will take into consideration how much commitment the father is able to offer the child, the degree of attachment between parent and child and the reasons why the father is making an application for Parental Responsibility.

Rights Over Contact

If a couple disagrees over contact arrangements a father can apply to the court for an interim contact order. This is done by attending a directions hearing and a consent order may be made if there are disagreements between the child’s parents. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court may issue an order regarding care and contact. This is only done in cases where the child will benefit from the changes in contact. On the whole, however, the child’s welfare is given paramount consideration by any court of law.

Does A Step-Dad Have Any Rights?

Maintaining relationships after separation can be difficult. It is the mother’s responsibility to allow her child to have contact with a step-parent. If she prevents contact a father may apply for a contact order, provided the child lived with him for at least three years. However, a father does not have any Parental Responsibility if he is not the natural or adoptive parent.

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My son was 18 yrs. old when his girlfriend gave birth to twin daughters. This was in 2000. The girls were born two months prematurely in Michigan. My son signed the birth certificates at that time. He had issues with drug addiction and bipolar disorder. Needless to say he was in and out of jails and prison in Michigan and Wisconsin more than he was out. During the time he was incarcerated, the child support kept adding up including fees. They say he owes 11,000 in back child support!Anyway, he has now been doing good, is in his 30's and has a son with a new girlfriend. They are currently living together with her parents. Whenever my son had a job or was on unemployment, WI. took out child support. Now he has been working steadily with a good job, for the past few months, paying child support and even insurance for the girls. He hasn't seen seen them since they were 1 yr. old. They are 13yrs. old. Today he got a letter from the WI child support agency stating that they took $1000.00 from his joint checking and savings accounts to pay for arrears and fees. He is just devastated. We are so happy he is doing good finally, and now they are causing enough upset that I worry if he will give up. To do this especially at Christmas time when he was just getting on his feet, is awful, not to mention that both checking and savings accounts were in both his name and his girlfriends name.
Sandy - 4-Dec-13 @ 11:04 PM
My daughter recently splitfrom her partner due to domestic violence towards her and also lack of commitment to their baby son. Please could some one advise me if he or his mother will have any rights to access. they have not tried to contact the baby for 5 months and her ex's mother has also lost access to her own 2 children to her ex partner due to her lack of parenting skills. They do not care for my grandson and my daughter just wants to raise her son in a loving and caring enviroment. Please could someone give me any advice which may help. Thankyou.
concerned nanny - 3-Apr-13 @ 1:51 PM
My husband left me a few days after our baby was conceived (1st child) I am currently divorcing him on grounds of domestic abuse. What rights will he have once the baby is born in June 2013? I do not want him to see the child, because he is a violent alcoholic. He has a reasonably well paid job. I am unemployed. Thanks.
Seasick Steve - 28-Mar-13 @ 5:31 PM
My wife and I separated 6 months ago.Via mediation, it was forced upon me that I would get access every Wednesday overnight and every other weekend Friday to Monday.I feel strongly that it should be 50/50 as I was an extremely involved and hands on father. I particularly dislike the long spell every other weekend thur am through to Wednesday, when I don't see the children and am only allowed 1 phone call. Although I was the major wage earner, my ex also has a good job (32 hrs a week), I have always had some flexibility and been able to drop off and pick up from school etc and be largely on hand if the children were ill etc. What are my chances of getting improved access, if going to court.My children are 11 and 8. Thank you for your advice.
Abc123 - 25-Dec-12 @ 9:19 AM
I have been in family court today to ask the court to get Cafcass to talk to my two children. When I arrived Cafcass was already in with the judge. When it was our turn to going with our counsel, the judge started shouting that I was only there cos I did not agree with last decision made in court by the other judge, he then went on to say to my ex's counsel to contact the aid commission to get my aid revoked cos they should not waste money on me. The reason I have been returning to court is because my ex has been physically and mentally violent to my children especially my daughter now aged 12. I am now scared for my children, you see I am deaf so if I have no legal aid I cannot represent my self as I won't be able to hear anything. It is in my file that was given to the court, so the judge must be aware of this. Cafcass will speak to my children, but I do not hold much with them, my daughter is frightened to say anything about it to her teachers so how will a visiting stranger to the school fare. I was a house husband looking after my children and do all the housework etc. for 9 years taking beatings and mental abuse, 7 of then sleeping on the settee as I was protecting my children by staying there. I left after she attacked me in front of my son, the look on his face will haunt me forever, I left so they would not witness anymore.
kvh2012 - 14-Dec-12 @ 11:11 PM
All I can say is that the only people to blame is the courts and the government. I am from Portugal and this would never take place. How is it possible that a woman has the right to determine if the kid can or not see his/ her father? I don't understand it! I have 11 year old son and since he was 1 month old his mother uses him to get to me. Eventually things calmed down and I got some access, as soon I wanted to legalise my rights and create an account for him she went ballistic fabricating lies and stories changing her contact information and falsely accusing me of not loving my son... Now not even my mother can get hold of her family as before,and I know for a fact if I attempt to show up at their place they will call the police falsely accusing me of being abusive. How can I possibly fix this? How can I possibly stand by my son? The law does not care about the kids well beings if they did they would be chasing the laws like everywhere else in the world! To all the females out there that use their kids to get their way... Grow up! One day your sons and daughters will leave you all alone to live with their fathers as they miss our emotional support and hopefully don't grow up to be so messed up in the heads like you! I hope someone can help me fix my situation as very soon he will be a teenager, angry and lost... RICO I will always love you always be here for you. Miss you little man.
To my sons - 9-Dec-12 @ 3:30 PM
Hi I have 2 daughters that have been that have been put in to long term fostercare because my x partner negleted them after 5 years of battle in the courts I've lost I had 30 allegations we had a fact fining hearing all allegations were droped as the judge belived they were fabricated by my x. We had 3 differnt guardians the last 1 completley lied and failed my assesment. They said I did have insight to my did have knowledge in my kids emotional needs but not deep enough!! I've also done a parenting course. In trying to get in back in to court but my family and friends are telling me it be easier if I'm in a relationship I would like to know if this is true?? Please can any 1 advice me. My contact is reduced to 3 times a year. Hope everything works out for you guys on here. Please to all the men stick by your kids you don't know what you got untill its gone!To the women please stop using your kids has weapons you messing there childhood have so please stop this!!
kahn - 11-Nov-12 @ 6:20 PM
I have an 8month child to a guy I've known over 10yrs. I was in between moving cities for a good job when I fell pregnant. He said even though we went together he'd help financially, emotionally and once baby was here share weekends... He had 3jobs when pregnant and now has one. He paid half towards a pram and bought a pack of vests- this is all he's ever purchased! He paid £20 pw from her being 6weeks old to 6months (worked out is equiv to £2 per day) which he continuously moaned about and tried stopping when he didn't go into work for toothache,he has been on 2 holidays in 12months to napa aswel as spemdung money getting pissed up with his joker mates every weekend & in past few months had sent texts saying how he wont have baby weekends, any judge will favour him???? He works less than 16houts on thurs and sat night.... He has continuously been a let down when supposed to have baby- with lame excuse after excuse, followed by evil hurtful messages how I'm a bad mum that doesn't deserve a social life or luxuries (as I explained I carnt afford Internet/sky etc) he also texts when he's out with the lads with the whole "haha I'm out on the town one of us has a life away from Facebook" and that he didn't have an option when it keep to the pregnancy and be she's here I should deal with it....Nice guy eh! I'm currently on benefits and hate it I want to carry on studying and wrk part time as planned when pregnant but he says he won't get a job to support me or my lifestyle and we aren't together do my bills are my problem attitude.... So I said I'll have to get a f/t job because I physically am struggling and he somehow had got out of paying decent money and pays £8 a week CSA /: he now is saying that if that's the case he wants full custody but how does this work it's not what I wanted to do but what other choice do I have if I don't want to be on benefits :( he won't work but will have his daughter and take the tax credits ???? Where do I stand on this- I wanted to finish my A1 assesors qualification so I can teach within a training school/academy/college so once baby is at school the hours/holidays will work in my favour....
Bebe - 18-Oct-12 @ 2:22 AM
I am pretty disturbed by some of the mens comments on this board about where maintenance money is being spent and what on etc. When a parent is sole carer of a child there earning potential is greatly reduced, even when a child starts school. It is very difficult to find a job within school hours or pay huge sums of money on childcare to enable parents to work full time. If you care to seek legal advice you will realise that maintenance is actually paid to the parent who has sole responsibility because looking after a child reduces there ability to work, this means that quite often it is there income and they can choose to spend it however they choose. If that is on a night out because they are a full time mother and need time out from one of the most difficult jobs in the world then so be it. They are entitled to spend maintenance money on whatever they choose. As long as the child is fed, clothed and looked after properly then there is no control over how maintenance is spent. It is a misconception that maintenance is for the child it is for the parent who is looking after the child to care for the child and themselves due to reduced working potential. Its pretty simple really.
Pollyrox - 19-Sep-12 @ 9:32 AM
my girlfriend and i split up in february 2012 after 11 years together. she has custody of all 3 of my children. when we split she told me that she personally didnt want any money from me, only that if our 3 kids needed anything, ie clothes, shoes, day trips away with school etc. that i would cover all that which i had absolutely no problem with at all, as i love all of my children and would not have them go without if i can afford it. i have now became the whipping boy in recent weeks where every time i see my kids she uses it as an excuse to start throwing insults verbally abusing me and threatening me with violence, now the ex is demanding cash to be paid to her or she will contact the csa and have me over a barrel, as i said i have no problem supporting my children financially but fear that if i bow to her wishes the money wont be spent on the kids but on her nights out which she has regularly. all i need to know is where do i stand legally? should i bow or contact the csa myself and explain my circumstances? please help :(
theabused - 25-Jul-12 @ 3:46 PM
My ex left me 4 another woman 6 months ago, he only asked to see our daughter who is 1 yo Sundays 11-4, like a mug i would drop her off at his house and pick her up, he always had an excuse for why he couldnt even give me petrol money, when he had her i would provide all her food, nappies, wipes etc he had also cancelled on our daughter a few times as something else came up. I then told him that although i would never stop him seeing our daughter i could not afford to drop her off/pick her up and provide everythin, due to reduction of hrs at work and child care costs. He offered to pay me £5 for petrol and her upbringing per week, in the 6 months i have only recieved £5, since i have stopped bringing her to him, he has refused to pick her up and will now not reply or make payment to my new csa claim. He then contacted me and asked to have his daughter 1 sunday in april, we agreed to meet half way and he never showed, no contact to say why, although his family tell me he was drinkin the night before. Now 3 months later he has contacted me saying he needs my address for a lawyer! I have never stopped him seeing his daughter and lack of contact was due to him, he is on the birth certificate but has like i said only paid £5 in the last 6 months. What rights will he have, as he is threatning to take my daughter full time, yet he is not reliable and too selfish to take care of her properly, she also doesnt know him anymore.
Cris - 21-Jul-12 @ 7:11 PM
In reply to kez You should be grateful that you get to see a lot of your daughter unlikemany other fathers on here. There is no way to find out what the money is being spent on, It sounds like you have a bit of a vendetta against the mother, why cause a problem if you have good access? I think the threshold to claim any benefits are £16000 per yr, so i would say no you are not entitled to benefits.
cuff - 6-Jul-12 @ 7:40 AM
hi, im a singe dad i get to spend a good bit of time with my daughter i am on the birth certificate & give the mother 200 a month, however im not sure if the money is being spent on her is there anything i can do to make sure it is?? also i work full time earning just over 17000p/y am i entitled to any benefits?
kez - 2-Jul-12 @ 1:49 PM
Hi, I split with my ex nearly 3 years ago and we have a 9 year old daughter. I went to court to get an agreement so that I could see her on one day every weekend for 10 hours. My ex rarely uphold this agreement and I tried taking her back to court to fight it but she refused to attend. I have regulary paid for my daughters needs or given my ex weekly payments. I have done this every week since we spllit. My ex has now contacted the csa and they are claiming i have not paid anything for the last 3 years and want to bill me for it. I have reciepts for some payments I have sent and proof of direct debits i had in place directed to my ex, what can I do? I am working but not earning enough to pay for a solicitor and all the other living costs. I last paid maintanence 2 weeks ago to cover until the end of July I cant believe I have to pay again and Im so eager to get to see my daughter regularly. Please help
stevet - 27-Jun-12 @ 9:46 PM
I am going to be a single father living on my own soon is there any help I can get towards all my bills?with only one wage coming in I have to try and cover everything and support my daughters.Thanks.
gleavesy - 21-Jun-12 @ 7:25 PM
my now ex wife and daugther moved to spain when she was 8weeks old we got divorced in spain as i saw my daugther five days a week when we were separated the court asked me if i wanted to keep that arrangement which i did i all so paid maintance every month as asked by the court my ex then remarried and told me they were moving back to the uk never asked just told me they said i could speak to beth thats her name by email hotmail facebook i coul even ring her at home even though my ex new husband wasnt happy about so off they went beth and i were devastated but we spoke for 2weeks then it was beths out even on a school night then i got told theyd change her surname to theres to stop any question o i told them that i wasnt happy and that as i did not give my permission by law i still was allowed to see beth five days aweek so they cut off all access to beth it got to christmas and i was desprate so i pleaded with them they said if i sent a fax saying i give beth permission they would get her to speak to me so like a fool i did ive not heard from them at all they wont return my calls email even blocked me on facebook please tell me how is this right then david camarron goes on tv and fathers that dont see there children are criminals what about women like my exand her new husband are they not crooks i do not no where to turn for help pleaseeeeeeeeee
bandana - 19-Jun-12 @ 8:06 AM
Hello I have just been deported from Uk for working with a false ID My legally married wife has got another partner in Uk We have 2kids together during our 9years of marriage before separation My ex wife is a NIgerian and myself but she has denied me access to my children since I was brought back to NIgeria Pls how can I fight for the custody of my children from Nigeria
Henroski - 15-Jun-12 @ 4:21 PM
im a single father of a 5yr old boy, i like to have peace & respect with all the people in my life, but for some or other reason when it comes to her she just uses and abuses the right of being my sons mom, my son stays with her and then when she has her bad moods then im not allowed to see my son, i dont earn a big salary but i try to do what i can, pay the cresch and buy clothes and stuff for him....she is a lesbian that doesnt work and nor does her partner... now she wants to take me to court and sue me for money i dont have, then she tells me i must write my son off then she will leave me alone and i can carry on with my life, she cost me several jobs and thousands of rands of debt that she made on my name because of my son, its as if she is telling me to write him off... what do i do? im stressing and messing up at work?
chris - 4-Jun-12 @ 1:29 PM
I am a nonresident father who saw our beautiful daughter 3-4 times a week with 2 overnights. A few times a year she stayed a whole week. My ex girlfriend broke up our 13 year relationship when she met someone else. I paid her debts, and started 215 month maintenance right away for our daughter. My ex became angry when I got married two years after our breakup and "reported me" to the csa (we had a private agreement before this) for more money because she didn't want another woman having influence in our daughter's life -my wife is a wonderful woman and my ex refused to meet her. My ex withheld contact with our daughter for three months while the csa were working on the case to get more money as she told them I never see our daughter. Well,my ex got more money based on my "never seeing our daughter" and I am now "allowed" to see my daughter on my own, without my wife, only for an hour or two away from my home. How is it the csa ignored 2 years of steady contact making a decision on three months (imposed) no-contact which was an obvious withholding. How is this fair? My ex also refused to give me parental rights, a car (she has both), the house and everything in it- as she threatened to disappear with our daughter if I asked for anything. I was the sole supporter all those years. I am in heartbreak over our daughter. I am in financial hardship now.
disbelief - 31-May-12 @ 9:37 AM
My daughter's partner left her 2 years ago, they have a 3 year old little girl.At first he paid maintenance monthly, and had his daughter 1 night a week.He had paid no maintenance now for 8 months. He still sees his daughter once a week she is picked up on a saturday and returned on sunday.My daughter has contacted CSA because he is working and is very well paid, yet he had asked my daughter to drop the claim and he will promise to pay maintenance.She has refused so he is threatening to get a lawyer and apply to have his daughter 3 nights a week, which he has never ever ever done before.My daughter is at her wits end, because her little girl is in full time nursery and in a routine which she is contented and happy with. What rights does my daughter have will she have to let her ex have his daughter 3 nights a week or can she refuse. He is only doing this so he doesnt have to pay as much maintenance as he would if he kept to his original routine.
nannagillian - 30-May-12 @ 7:34 PM
My 13yo and i had a major argument which has resulted in her going to live with her dad and his wife and kids, He has NO parental responsibility and i would like to know can they claim tax credits and her child benefit if she shares my surname and not his etc? Also He has not paid Child maintanance since she was 6yo what can i do???
Peasmum - 26-May-12 @ 8:04 PM
after the even years succeesfull merriage life , my left me alone and took two nos of male kids having age of 5 and 1 year, and she insisting that i will keep these child with herself, my question is that CAN SHE KEEP THESE TWO KIDS WITH HER.
ghoofi - 23-May-12 @ 8:08 AM
hi, i am expecting a baby and me and my boyfriend has split. he cheated on me so i left him as i Dont think a baby should be brought up amongst arguments etc. he leaves for university soon and i Dont plan to put his name on the birth certificate, he and i are young and i feel that having him in my babies life is important for him or her to know who their father is. i allow visitation but only at my house, can he do anything about this?
kaz - 18-May-12 @ 6:32 PM
I have read so many heartbreaking stories, from both mothers and fathers, unfortunately the majority seem to be from fathers who have been mistreated by their ex who seem to use their children and the CSA to get more money without any real consideration to the entire situation surrounding that childs life. The father has the children overnight once a fortnight (mothers decision) and sees them one night during the week (mothers decision). BOTH parent have an income (benefits or salary) so this should be considered. BOTH parents have outgoings (we all need to live) this should also be considered. ONLY the income of the parents and outgoing of the parents should be considered, NOT their partner. Thus if the mother or the father contribute half to their joint home (with their new partner) then that amount should be considered (likewise, if they have to pay for everything, that should be considered) as outgoings (this should be verified with Inland revenue (income) and the bank (expenditure)).Any working tax credits and family allowance should be added to the appropriate parents income to give an ACTUAL amount going into that household. It must be accepted the the parent who does not live with the children also have ESSENTIAL outgoings. If the fathers have to produce receipts to prove that they actually spend the time and the money on the kids that they say they do, then why can't the mothers do the same?? Why can't the fathers request (expect) receipts (each month) to verify that the money they are giving for the welfare of their children is actually being spent on their children, and if they have any queries/problems, they should contact the CSA.If the mothers had to produce receipts as the fathers do, I would guess that their would be less arguing as the proof would be in front of them. Just a thought!
Eyes wide shut!!! - 17-May-12 @ 4:16 PM
I'm 8 months pregnant with my first child, and soon to be a single mother.The father left me when he found out I was pregnant and said he doesn't want anything to do with it.I have tried on several occasions to contact him but to no avail.I have been advised to go through CSA for child maintenance, but I am just wondering if there is any way that he can get away with not paying maintenance?He works full time, I have just started maternity leave and will only be getting SMP while I am off work, so will need the financial help from him.
MammaBee - 1-May-12 @ 3:47 PM
my ex is a plonker, he is living with his mummy again after leaving for the third time, he i only entitled to pay £1.67 a week for our daughter, he hasnt seen her for almost 5 months and didnt send her a birthday card. he is a joke. yet he is allowed to have his car which is taxed and insured. i think eejits like this should have their car removed and if he can afford tax and insurance and petrol then extra money should come off of him. i dont think the csa do enough in cases like this. his family are no better they havent seen our daughter since she was 6 days old and she is now a year old. what a bunch of clowns.
tiredandmoretired - 29-Apr-12 @ 10:35 AM
I am soon to be a single father. I want my daughter to continue living with me where she has other family (grandparents,aunts & uncles etc in the village), friends, attends pre-school and will be attending a local infant school with her pre-school friends in september. How do I go about applying for a residency order so she can continue to stay with me in her familiar surroundings? Thanks.
Lou - 26-Apr-12 @ 2:24 PM
@Cupcake Star. You need to formalise some arrangements for maintenance and contact with your ex. Try to get a formal agreement drawn up either through mediation or with the help of a solicitor. If you can agree contact times and financial support it will put your mind at rest and ensure some routine and stability for your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Apr-12 @ 9:35 AM
My ex left 5 months ago. He has paid no maintenance what's so ever to our child. He lives with his parents and has various other children with other women. I how ever have a stable home for our child and willingly let him see our child. I find it hard that he pays no money but can go out and party and date. He's threatened to take our child at times. He is on the birth certificate. What rights do I have? Should I be worried?
CupcakeStar - 25-Apr-12 @ 6:33 PM
@Danny. If you have parental responsibility, your ex needs your permission to take your child abroad for that period of time.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Apr-12 @ 11:49 AM
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