Fathers often feel they are neglected and overlooked in the family law system. While in theory, the legal system in the UK treats fathers and mothers in an equal manner, there are still situations where the fathers will face bias and their relationship with their child will suffer as a result.
How RVS Solicitors Can Help With Your Parental Rights
As a team, our Solicitors are committed to ensuring children can maintain relationships with both parents. This is why we have created a dedicated team of lawyers who specialise in dad’s rights. If as a father, you feel your ability to form a relationship with your child is being obstructed, we can advise and represent you.
Rakhi Singal heads our family law team. She has years of experience as a divorce and family lawyer and has worked with many fathers in protecting their rights. As a Director of the firm, Rakhi has sought to create a legal practice where the focus is firmly on the client and providing a high quality of care that considers the needs of the children as well as the adults.
She understands very clearly the emotional damage that a separated dad can suffer through being cut off from his child. She also is acutely aware of the financial implications in many such scenarios and has a multitude of tactics in her arsenal to preserve your financial position and to ensure that your love for your child will not be used against you.
Her team has been trained at the highest standard and they share her values and expertise, so you can rest assured that no matter who at RVS is dealing with your matter, you have the best father’s rights lawyers acting for you.
As members of Resolution, we follow their Code of Practice which focuses on resolving family disputes in a non-confrontational way. Our Solicitors will advise you in a way that preserves or seeks to repair family relations rather than inflame conflict. Apart from saving you some heartache, this approach can also ensure that your legal costs are kept reasonable and are not inflamed unnecessarily.
There are three main issues facing fathers in family law:
- Acquiring parental responsibility.
- The mother is refusing to allow contact or is alienating the child.
- Child maintenance payments.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Do I have Parental responsibility?
Section 3(1) of the Children Act 1989 defines parental responsibility as all the rights, duties, powers and responsibilities and authority that, by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child and their property.
It includes, but is not limited to, the right to:
- look after a child
- decide where the child should live
- make decisions regarding a child’s education, hobbies, and religion
- appoint a guardian
- consent to medical treatment or obtain appropriate treatment for the child
- name the child
- take the child abroad
- apply for the child’s passport
- discipline the child
Parental responsibility is automatically conferred on the mother and the father if he is married to the mother. If you are not married to the child’s mother, you will acquire parental responsibility if:
- The child’s birth was registered after 1st December 2003, and your name is on the certificate as the father.
- The child was born before that time with no father listed on the birth certificate, but the birth was later re-registered with you named as the father.
- You and the child’s mother sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement.
- You are given a parental responsibility order by the court, or a Residence Order for the child to live with you.
- You marry the child’s mother.
If you are not sure if you have parental responsibility or not, give our family lawyers a call. Rakhi and her team can assist you with identifying whether you do have a parental right. If you don’t have parental responsibility, they can help you make an application for an order granting you parental responsibility for a child.
The Mother is blocking contact, what can I do?
We often get calls from desperate dads who have been unable to see their children in a while. Likewise, there are many clients approaching us seeking to find a way to prevent their children from drifting away from them, due to the mother’s manipulative behaviour.
Our lawyers understand that being prevented from seeing your child is emotionally devastating. Our team will swiftly move into action to advise and represent you if you are facing such a situation.
We have seen numerous situations where the fathers are demoralised and feel that they cannot win in a battle against the mother to gain contact with their child. All too often, our family solicitors are confronted with situations where the fathers would tell them ‘the mother doesn’t want me to have a relationship with the child, there is nothing I can do’. This is not true. As a father, you have the exact same right to be in your child’s life as does the mother. We have helped many father’s to defend their rights and have even obtained numerous victories for fathers who wished for the child to live with them.
How we can help you, will depend on your particular situation. If your contact is through an informal arrangement with your ex, we can apply to the Court for a Child Arrangement Order which will set out when your child is to spend time with you. If a Child Arrangement Order is already in place, we can apply to the Court to have it enforced.
There might be situations where it is a case of being alienated from your children rather than being blocked from seeing them. Our lawyers are well versed in dealing with such cases.
Likewise, if you are facing a scenario where you and the child’s mother disagree on a fundamental issue in respect of the child, for instance what school to attend, what medical treatment to receive, who to be in contact with etc, you don’t need to feel like you don’t have a say in it, simply because the mother has views different from yours. The UK courts have longed passed the ‘mother knows best’ approach and act with clear understanding that both parents are equally responsible for their child’s upbringing. Our dedicated dad’s rights team can assist you in such matters by applying for Prohibited Steps or Specific Issues orders.
In all circumstances, we will try and resolve the dispute outside of Court. Being able to work through conflicts themselves provides parties with confidence that they are being listened to by the other parent and have the communication tools to manage disputes. However, if court action is inevitable, we will represent you tenaciously, and ensure you can see your child regularly.
Do I need to pay Child maintenance?
If you and your partner separate, both of you are still financially responsible for your children. In many cases, parents will work out child maintenance orders between themselves. However, it is best practice to check the amount you agree against what the Child Maintenance Service would assess the amount to be, to avoid a dispute developing at a later date.
Many fathers believe that no matter what the child arrangements, they will still have to pay child maintenance and many mothers think they are entitled to it. This is not so. The maintenance will be proportionate with the time the child is under the other parent’s care. For instance, if you, as the father, are the resident parent and the mother only has contact with the child, then she will owe maintenance to you. Similarly, if you have living arrangements for the child that practically splits their time equally between you and your ex partner, there is likely to not be any maintenance due, as both parents will have equal financial implication in the child’s upbringing.
If you and your partner cannot agree on the amount of child maintenance to be paid, the Court can make an order, or one parent can apply to the Child Maintenance Service to set an amount.
If you got a child maintenance decision on or after 11 July 2016 and believe it is incorrect, you can ask the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to change their decision by way of a Mandatory Reconsideration. If you are still unhappy, you can appeal.
We have years of experience advising fathers on child maintenance payments and as Resolution members, can assist couples to work out an agreement peacefully between themselves.