Home > Related Laws > The Law and Single Mothers

The Law and Single Mothers

Author: Anna Martin - Updated: 1 August 2015 | commentsComment
Mother Father Parent Child Shared

A mother has parental responsibility for her child and is generally expected to become the parent with care, in the event of a separation or divorce. Whilst providing care for her child allows her to receive maintenance support from the child’s father, to cover the cost of the child’s expenses, a mother’s rights are very much conditioned by her marital status. A married woman will be more financially secure, than a woman who remains unmarried, if she has children and her relationship breaks down.

Mother’s Pride

If the mother’s name is the only name listed on the child’s birth certificate she has sole Parental Responsibility for the child’s welfare. Adding a father’s name to the certificate can only happen if he attends registration. Once the father’s name is registered he will automatically share parental responsibility for the child, assuming that the child is born after 2003. A Parental Responsibility Agreement can be drawn up at a later date if a mother is prepared to share responsibilities with the child’s father, if he was not named on the birth registration form. Our page on What rights does my ex have discusses Parental Responsibility and how to determine it in some detail.

Paternity Confirmation

Most fathers confirm paternity, when asked, which enables the mother – regardless of the brevity of the couple’s relationship - to apply for child support with relative ease. Establishing fatherhood acknowledges shared responsibility and liability for the child, or children. Those non resident fathers who are less willing to provide maintenance assistance for their child however, can be traced by the Child Support Agency (CSA) and have payment enforced.

Mothers’ Rights

A single mother is entitled to claim maintenance from her child’s father, on behalf of the child. She does not have to have shared parental responsibilities with him in order to ask for Child Support payments to be calculated and collected from him. Maintenance agreements can be made privately or can be arranged through the Child Support Agency.

Without shared Parental Responsibility a father cannot have access to his child without the mother agreeing. He may apply for a Contact Order, if communication between the parents has broken down, and should the father want the child to live with him he will have to apply for a Residence Order. However, the court is unlikely to grant a Residence Order to a father for a baby, as this would give him shared Parental Responsibility.

Maintenance Rights

Simply because a father pays maintenance support to the child’s mother periodically it does not mean that he is entitled to see the child. This form of support provides funds to be used towards the cost of raising the child, and should be used to pay for educational and extracurricular activities, shelter, clothing and food.

If the mother and the father have been able to agree a figure for maintenance, it is worth getting the agreement agreed by the court, in case payment enforcement is required at a later date.

Special Circumstances

In cases where the mother became pregnant through artificial insemination, or by third party donor, the partner at the time of birth is accountable for the child’s welfare and is expected to contribute financially.

To find out how child support is assessed take a look at our page How child support is calculated.

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Hello I need advice. I stayed with my boyfriend over two yrs. After I got pregnant we had fight and he chase me out of the house. Dnt have place to stay. I'm 8 mnth pregnant .if I give birth to this child I want to give it to him what does the law say about this
matha - 1-Aug-15 @ 3:56 PM
What if she contacts csa and says the non residential parent is on the birth certificate and he purchases it and can see he in fact was not on but because csa have a name to go on he gets hu g drawn and quartered by then...there are also 2 other children involved also whom are by this woman and have him named on their certificates but have doubts he is their dad as its come out to the eldest (18) she cheated on him..untill after the second child was born also around the third but looks the most like him...very confusing and long winded but because she has a name and the csa also he then has to pay for parternity tests even though they wouldn't be needed if she kept her legs closed!! Crude but very frustrated as a baby has been born since and does without to make up these maintenance payments because she named him in csa and they are like Rottweiler s once they bite they never let go.. Families suffer because of them...they are a slags way of getting men to stand up to their responsibilities whether they are accurate or not!!
Merindy - 26-Jul-15 @ 11:55 AM
@limbert -it is rather a grey area and one that leaves a lot of parents out in the cold when it comes to receiving payments. Unfortunately, there is little you can do as you would have to try and prove otherwise and then take it through the courts.
Jem - 13-Jul-15 @ 1:57 PM
What can i do if my ex is a so called self employed construction worker and only declairs a minimal amount of income to avoid tax. The rest is paid as i.e. buisness profit which maintenance ha ent taken into calculation. We have 2 children he has them one night a week. His working fulltime plus half day saturday. He is allowed to drive all big machinery on site and i know hes not a minimum wage. Morover calculation summery of maintenance is stated as this ex weekley income: £167 = reduced rate = £11 per child/per week =£22 - shared care nights =£19 total he pays.But cant be correct. Do the maths 40 hr week ÷ £167 isnt even minimum wage. Best of this is maintenance try to keep tra k and get confirmagion of all income this takes a out 12 weeks , he puts buisness into liquidation and registers as a new buisness under a different name. Hes got away with this game of chase tactics for over 12 months and ther nobody can help change the situation. Iv been intouch with CAB even asked my local M.P. for any advice and as for the maintenance service well there as good as useless in my situation. Anyone got any suggestions
limbert - 10-Jul-15 @ 4:47 PM
i have sole custody of my daughter who is a ward of court until she is 18, which will be in a years time, she is currently in a relationship where he has total conrol over her, and she has just had a baby by him and things have become worse, my daughter is very vulnerable and its being taken advantage off and wanted to know if there is anything i can do as her mother or what advice should i give her
susie q - 9-Jul-15 @ 10:46 PM
My ex was offered a dna test 3 times and he never answered to letter or phones calls. The CSa they took that he was the father. Since this new child maintance set up, his once again denied the child his and paid for a dna test, I worried as he will do anything in his power to get out being my child father as he had a wife and family of his own. Is there any way I can be prestant while this dna takes place so I can see its him taking the test. I don't trust him.
Goodie - 9-Jul-15 @ 1:02 PM
@Mango151 - he has no rights if he is not on the birth certificate. However, if he is registered on the certificate then he will naturally have 'parental responsibility'.If a mother is unmarried, she has sole parental responsibility for that child, and all decisions relating to her child’s upbringing are hers.Unmarried fathers can gain legal responsibility for a child by jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother, making a parental responsibility agreement with the mother, or having a parental responsibility order, made by a court. Please see link: Child Support Law and Parental Responsibility, here which should explain further.
ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jul-15 @ 2:45 PM
NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE: I am by name Edward, and i want to use this great chance to inform you about what can favour you as a young boy,businessman,etc. I have been looking for a sugar mummy since when i was in my University and so unlucky for me i have not been able to get any, bur i have met with some so called agent claiming that they have sugar mummy for me, and due to the fact that i am very desperate in getting this sugar mummy to enhance my finance after school, i believe in him and i sent up to #20000 to him having the mind that he will provide what i want for me, and at the end the reverse was the case, he flew away with my hard earn money. THE GOOD NEWS HERE IS WHEN I MET MR AMEND USMAN AND JUST ONLY ONE CALL I GAVE TO HIM, AFTER I HAVE EXPLAINED HOW I WAS BEEN DUPED, BY OTHER AGENTS, HE TOLD ME THAT HE IS DIFFERENT AND I FOUND IT DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE HIM, BUT WHEN I TRIED HIM, WAO I GOT EXACTLY THE VERY KIND OF SUGAR MUMMY I WANT, RIGHT NOW I AM ENJOYING WITH HER JUST THE WAY I WANT IT. IF YOU ARE THERE LOOKING FOR A SUGAR MUMMY PLEAS DON'T WAST YOUR TIME LOOKING FOR FAKE AGENT KINDLY CALL MR AMEND ON +2348169207857 FOR SUGAR MUMMY, SUGAR DADDY, LESBIANS, GAY CONNECTIONS ETC. I HAVE PROMISE HIM THAT THIS GREAT TESTIMONIES WILL NOT END WITH ME I, ALSO WANT MY FELLOW YOUNG BOYS AND GIRLS TO BENEFIT FROM IT, THANKS FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.
HELENA - 5-Jul-15 @ 5:19 PM
Hello, was wondering if I could get some advise please. I'm pregnant and me and the baby's father who are not married have split up, he is very aggressive / rude towards me, he has a stinking attitude and I don't trust him when the baby will be born. I don't want him on the birth certificate as I do not trust him with the baby. He smokes in his flat and has said he will not give up smoking even when the baby is here and I do not want my baby in the place smelling of smoke. I have said to him the baby will have my last name as we are not married. My main concern is his attitude and behaviour towards me. What rights does he have? Please help! Thank you!
Mango151 - 5-Jul-15 @ 1:02 PM
Perhaps not written by a male but sounds like a new partner of such Father.
Geograph - 5-Jul-15 @ 2:31 AM
It really bothers me that "fathers" always get the raw end of the deal. What about the deceptive women who get pregnant on purpose? Why should they be entitled to claim money from that man for the rest of his life, force him to father a child he was not ready for, knew he didn't want to have, knew that woman was not who he wanted to share a child with and not have to deal with. How is that fair? Yes, there are women like that, who try to trap men or use them for their wallets? There should be laws introduced to protect men under such circumstances. Just because he said yes to sex and he trusted that woman when she said she had taken precautions, does not mean he should forfeit his life, his own dreams and his earnings because he was deceived in to fatherhood. All these women preaching about my body, me decision - what about his choices?! It's a woman's decision to have a child knowing that man was not going to be with her, yet that man is then attacked by her and society for not being the "father" they perceive he should be. And before its's commented upon, this was not written by a male.
Fotennis - 3-Jul-15 @ 7:36 PM
@ella2015 - Child maintenance payments should not affect any social security benefits, housing benefit or tax credit awards. Although you should let Social Security Agency know about your child maintenance payments. You don't say how you are going to supplement your own income?
Amy - 1-Jul-15 @ 11:07 AM
@Luna - it depends on whether he is earning and if so how much. It also depends on whether your mother has made a claim through the CSA or CMS. If she hasn't made a claim, or agreed it between themselves, then he will not have to pay.
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Jun-15 @ 2:42 PM
I got on welfare when I was 6 months pregnant because I needed things to provide for the baby and the father of her wasnt around. Im due soon and now hes around more and agreed to help out, how do i cut off welfare? he and i both agreed to help out equally.
ella2015 - 28-Jun-15 @ 2:34 PM
I'm 15 years old and I thought that by law, my father should be paying £100 a month to my single mother. He has not been doing this since he left us in 2006 and he has not spent any money on my brother and I what so ever this year. Is it true hat he has to pay us £100 every month by law?
Luna - 26-Jun-15 @ 8:36 PM
I have a friend that's father of his grandson has no legal right to his son but refuses to let said child have any contact with said grandfather when he is visiting him. The said father told grandfather he has no rights to his grandson. What are the legal rights does the grandfather have in this manner?
Forrest - 25-Jun-15 @ 8:50 PM
Can the father not let the grandfather she said child even though he has no legal rights to said child?
Forrest - 25-Jun-15 @ 8:43 PM
@charles - you would have to either stop access and risk your ex taking you to court. Or you could go for a Prohibited Steps order yourself, see link here. You could also try mediation if you can't iron out your problems between you. See article: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Jun-15 @ 12:24 PM
good day,me and my ex have a three year old boy together but he left us for a sugar mommy,we have shre custody and my son goes to him every second weekend,but now sugar mommy bought him a pub so when its his weekend he take my son with,what is my right to stop this and what can i do ,as i dont want my son brought up in that invoriment.
charles - 23-Jun-15 @ 11:31 AM
My son's father wants to take my son away from me complaining about crash condition only to find out that he dodges the maintanancythat must be paid by him
buli - 22-Jun-15 @ 7:48 PM
Hi need some advice. Me and my boyfriend have split and he thinks he's going to take my baby from me. I do not want him to have access to her at the moment. He's not a very nice person and smokes a lot of weed. His name is on the birth certificate but what rights do I have as her mother.
Janeb - 20-Jun-15 @ 8:31 PM
I don't want my child's father to be put on the birth certificate I don't think e deserves to he has been verbally abusive and horrible the whole way through my pregnancy if I don't put him on there and he takes me to court will they put him on there or not? He has also been to prison in the past and thinks he has the right to take my baby overnight just after he's born is this allowed? Please help
Maggie - 15-Jun-15 @ 7:04 PM
My ex only seems to see our children when it suits him. Is there anyway I can make him see them more as we then have a routine and also I get time to myself
Sandy - 15-Jun-15 @ 4:16 PM
I'm a single mother, is my allow to sent his son money as I'm on income support please?
kat - 10-Jun-15 @ 12:20 PM
@Gabrielle - yes you can, if you choose. Also, regardless of whether he has left you, he will still be partly responsible for your child's financial welfare if you name him. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Jun-15 @ 12:31 PM
Hi. My bf left me when I was 13th weeks pregnant and i wondered if i can still put his name in the birth certificate for my child's future reference?
Gabrielle - 7-Jun-15 @ 1:33 PM
@NannaRoo - no she doesn't have to put his name on the birth certificate, however, he could take it to court to claim parental responsibility.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Jun-15 @ 3:04 PM
Hello, I wondered if I could get some advice for my daughter. can she be forced to put the fathers name on the birth certificate? Now the reason I am asking is because he has been violent towards her and left her at 8 weeks pregnant and then he materialised confessing his undying love etc. So she allowed him to be at the birth, but all the way through he has kept on at her about being on the birth certificate. Now after only 8 days old he has gone again and keeps threatening her, we have since found out that he only came back to be at the birth and he has broken my daughters heart again.....all she ever wanted was to be a family. We have concerns he may run off with baby. I appreciate any advice. My daughter has never stopped him from seeing her but now she wants it to be in a contact centre supervised as he cannot be trusted to not be nasty and violent.
NannaRoo - 4-Jun-15 @ 3:45 PM
i was in a bad place made wrong chosess but the spite of it i brought my daughter up nicly she always had a roof over her head and had a warm bed and foodin 2014 my dad took my daugter to visit my granpa when the weekend was gone i came from work and asked my dad where is my child my dad told me she is going to stay there my daughter is in my custody they forced me to sighn papers which i did not know anything about if i didnt sighn them i would not have a house my grand father tried getting me to sighn my kid off as well it did not work i did not allow it and all of this due to my past And a nastybreak up i had to take pills due to depression what do i do so i can get my daugther back or see her weekends i get to see her once a week when it fitts them
michelle - 4-Jun-15 @ 12:31 AM
Could you help me my son's father has sporadic ally supported his son I believe he has committed fraud as hepurchased a house in2002 for 188k he paid. No.support till 2006 my son and myself have lived in poverty can I take any action . Could t you recommend a good solicitors
d - 2-Jun-15 @ 8:53 PM
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