It is an inconvertible truth that divorce has its adverse effects, always favouring a party over the other. Most often than not, the star always smiles at the wife with regards to the supervision of their children. However, is it acceptable for a child to suffer by losing a relationship with one parent?
Following a divorce or separation, children often end up living with only one parent, which automatically makes contact with the other parent somewhat limited.
There are several sad sagas about fathers who lost access to seeing and bonding with their kids after the parents’ divorce. The question of a father’s right to access his children is one that needs to be attended to with care and clarity.
Several things seem acceptable but are gross in the face of the law. Therefore, you must understand the legal position regarding the situation in the United Kingdom. This will help you to exercise your right as the father of the child. Also, it will grant you immunity to see your children.
A father who is a resident of the United Kingdom is eligible to have a say in the care and welfare of his children. Likely, the mother may disagree with this. If this happens, there are measures you can take to secure your rights to see your child or children.
What is the legal position available to fathers?
The most frequently asked questions by fathers during a divorce process are “what are my rights to see my child?” and “how long will it be?”.
There are several laws put in place to help the father, regardless of whatever category he falls into.
These measures include:
Father and the law
The law upholds the notion that both father or mother have responsibilities towards their children.
However, the child has a right to decide if they want to have a continuous, meaningful relationship with both of their parents or otherwise. As long as the relationship is comfortable and appropriate for the child, then it will be upheld by a court.
Both the mother and the father have obligations towards their children. It is not the responsibility of the mothers alone. Instead, it is a joint responsibility of both parents.
They have a commitment to meet the needs of their children in every way possible. This includes psychologically, emotionally, physically, and financially. They must ensure that the child is not found wanting, and every of the child’s needs is thoroughly met.
This is essential. It implies that the child will grow up being given the best opportunity to thrive and grow healthily in life.
Parental responsibility is perceived as all the duties, powers, obligations, and authority that a parent has concerning the child and their property.
It is vested on the parent’s power and obligation, which entails taking crucial decisions in the child’s life as it relates to some issues. These issues include:
- The kind of school, the child, should attend
- Health care and medical treatment.
- The child’s beliefs and religious upbringing.
- Naming of a child and the changing of names where necessary.
- Holidays and trips outside the UK with non- relations.
Also, the parent has a responsibility to make day-to-day decisions that concern the child, such as where the child is permitted to go to, whom the child can go out with, and their food choice.
Parental responsibility, however, falls into two major categories:
The parental responsibility of married fathers
In England and Wales, fathers who have their names on the child’s birth certificate automatically have parental responsibility.
Also, those who were once married to the child’s mother at the time of birth enjoy the same privilege.
The parental responsibility of unmarried fathers
You do not have parental responsibility automatically if you are not married to your child’s mother or if your name is not on the birth certificate. However, you can apply to the court for parental responsibility.
You can also reach a consensus and enter into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother.
The court, however, has the final decision to make. The court will first consider what is in the best interest of the child before granting personal responsibility.
They will also scrutinise things. Things like the reasons you are applying for the order, and how relevant it is, the level of commitment you have proved as a father so far, the connection and attachment you have with your child.
Parental responsibility can be gotten automatically or through manual procedures. Those whose parental responsibility agreement would be suitable for are:
- An unmarried father that does not have his name on the birth certificate
- A father who marries a woman with a child and wants parental responsibility for his new spouse’s child.
- A parent in a same-sex relationship where the other party already has a child or gives birth during the relationship, with the assumption that both couples were not civil partners at the time of the child’s delivery.
Does a father have the right to access?
Yes, a father has the same level of right to have contact with and care for his children just as the mother. Ideally, when parents separate, they always reach a consensus on co-parenting.
So, if you would love to play a significant role in the care of your children, you need to reach a compromise. Nevertheless, if you cannot reach a compromise with your ex-spouse, there are measures you can take.
Most often than not, what you need to do is to make your ex-spouse see your point of view by sending a worded letter with the help of your family lawyer. Set out your proposal, but if this doesn’t work out as expected, opt for mediation.
What is mediation?
Mediation is the process of involving a neutral third party to discuss the situation without the involvement of the court. Just like divorce itself, not all disputes concerning children have to be set to work in the courtroom.
Parents can get custody of their child without going to a family court if they are willing to. A simple discussion between parents may be able to resolve child custody issues. However, this can only be possible if both parents are on peaceful terms.
Try the mediation method before you decide on taking action and claiming your right as a father on your child through the court. We recommend that one parent should discuss their problems with the other parent. This is possible with the help of their family lawyers.
This course of action is not just cost-effective but also time effective. It helps a parent to avoid the fees that are associated with court applications and legal representation.
Each party will table their discussion openly. By so doing, they might be able to reach a mutually agreeable outcome.
Several parents who are divorced always reach a consensus about several things. Matters like whom the children will live with, when the children will see the other parent, how to spend holidays, Halloween’s, etc.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to agree, most especially when the tension of divorce is still high and when emotions are all over the place.
Child arrangement orders
This is an alternative plan. The father can send an application to the court to ask for a child arrangement order if both parents could not reach a consensus through bargaining.
This order will determine where the child will live. Also, it will determine when the child can spend time with the other parent.
This arrangement order tends to favour the fathers because, in most cases, children always live with their mom while the dads are starved of the opportunity to spend time with their kids. This order can change the initial plans drastically. This implies that children will be able to spend more time with their dad or even spend the week with them.
Nevertheless, this only happens if the arrangement is in the best interest of the child. There is a need to prove this before changes can be made.
Why should a father have the right to see his child?
When a child has access to a supportive and affectionate father, it can boost the child’s emotional and social development.
Children tend to turn to their dads for support, especially emotional assistance. As it may not always be convenient to talk to one parent all the time, having contact with the father in such situations is helpful for the child. The kids may suffer psychologically if they are unable to speak their minds out.
Having another parent in their life makes it easy for children to express themselves more. They will be able to speak openly about any issues that are posed at them. This can save children from suffering mentally or emotionally from anxiety and depression.
What rights does a father have to see his child?
The child and not the parent determine the right a father has to see his child. If you cannot reach a consensus with your spouse, then you have to go to the court to prompt a judge to decide.
However, it may not necessarily be in your favour. Remember that the court’s final decision will be based on what they consider your child’s best interest, not actually what either of you wants as parents. That said, the child needs to have and maintain a good, healthy, and loving relationship with both parents. This is perceived to be in his/her best interest. Therefore, the court will put orders in place to ensure that it happens.
So, a father’s right to see his children depends on his ability to emphasise the need for his children to see him often. Moreover, for the child’s mother to highlight this to the kids, regardless of how she feels towards her ex-husband.
It is the child’s right to see their father and have a healthy and continuous relationship, even with the parent they don’t stay with every day.
Also, it is equally the child’s right to be convinced by the parent they live with to see the other parent and to spend quality time with them.
Reaching a consensus can sometimes be difficult or impossible. Nonetheless, going to court to claim your right to see your child as his father has proven to work.
However, you will need a piece of sound legal advice and an attorney to present, prepare your case, and represent you. That is why we are here for you.
Are you denied access to see your child? Do you need to exercise your parental responsibility towards your kids? Are you dazed on how to go about it? Kindly contact a family law solicitor on Qredible.co.uk to help you regain your rights.
You are a step away from having that right to see your child as we have got you covered.
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