FAQs: Fathers' Rights


Do fathers have rights?

Fathers do have rights within the UK family law system. However, the focus is on the rights of the child rather than the rights of either of the parents. The aim of custody proceedings is not to determine which parent has greater rights than the other parent; rather, the aim is to focus on the rights of the child and the child’s needs.

When do fathers have parental responsibility?

In UK family law, the rights and responsibilities that a parent has towards their child is known as ‘parental responsibility’. When a parent has parental responsibility for a child they have the right to make decisions for the child regarding things such as their living arrangements, education and religion. Fathers who are married to their child’s mother will immediately gain parental responsibility. Unmarried fathers can get their name put on the child’s birth certificate, or enter into a parental responsibility agreement, or apply to a court for an order.

How can fathers get custody or access?

If a father wishes to see their child, or to have the child live with them, but the child’s mother does not allow them to do so, they can apply to the court to seek such orders. The parents should first try to reach an agreement out of court.

Where can fathers get support?

There are many fathers’ support networks that offer support for fathers who are going through custody or access battles. These support networks can provide information about the processes as well as contacts for counselling services and support groups.

Do fathers have to pay child support?

Fathers are required to pay child support until the child reaches 18 years of age. This obligation applies even if the father does not have any contact with the child, whether by their own choice or due to the child’s mother’s refusal to let the child see the father.

If you would like to obtain legal advice about a father’s rights, Caven can put you in touch with a local family law solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local family law solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299.

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