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Father’s Rights and Responsibilities in the UK

Little Girl resting on her father's shoulderMothers always have parental responsibility for their children unless they are later adopted. A father’s parental responsibility is variable and dependent on certain conditions.

A father has parental responsibility if they are married to the child’s mother or if their name is on a birth certificate that was registered on or after 1st December 2003. If the father is on the birth certificate before this date, he will need to acquire parental responsibility through other means. This may mean engaging a family and divorce solicitor in London, like Saracens Solicitors.

Contact with children

During divorce proceedings, many fathers want to establish regular contact with their children. This can often be arranged informally with the mother. However, sometimes it is best to get a formal agreement using a divorce solicitor in London or elsewhere. This means that contact cannot be randomly withdrawn for emotional or other reasons.

Mediation may be helpful in many situations to establish the father’s rights. Many courts will not consider a case unless mediation has been attempted first. Many law firms now have experienced mediators on staff that can assist with this process. Organisations like Resolution, can help people find a divorce solicitor in London and the rest of the UK who can assist with a constructive and conflict-free resolution. If mediation does not work, fathers can then move on to court proceedings to establish legally binding guidelines for contact with their children.

Contact can take many forms including face-to-face, contact over other media such as Skype or by telephone or supervised visits. Some cases require a staggered process where limited or supervised contact is allowed for a time and may lead to more contact at a later date if certain conditions are met. The process can take some time and patience is required. Above all, a commitment to the emotional welfare of the children should guide the process.

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Financial responsibility and contact

It is important to note that it is always the father’s responsibility to provide for their child financially regardless of whether they have parental responsibility or are allowed access to the child. However, contact is not dependent on maintenance being paid.