Fathers and children: the law

Fathers' rights - indeed, parental rights - do not really exist in UK law. Instead, the law refers to parental responsibilities. Parental Responsibility (PR, or Parental Responsibilities and Rights (PPR) in Scotland) is a legal status that means that you have a duty to care for and protect your child

Fathers' rights to see their children are not set out in UK law as such, but depend on a number of factors, of which Parental Responsibility is just one. Having said that, PR (or PPR) gives you the right to contribute to decision making regarding your child's future such as:

  • giving consent to medical treatment
  • choosing their school
  • deciding how they should be brought up
  • choosing their name
  • choosing their religion

What does UK law say about fathers' rights to see their children when parents separate? What rights do you and your child have? Is the law, or are the courts, biased against dads? We look at your legal position if you're separating.

Other useful articles...

- Father's Rights - How do I get parental responsibility

- Child Support


About the author


Clare Kirby qualified as a lawyer in 1983 and worked for several years in industry. She founded Kirby & Co in 1997. As a member of Resolution and an advanced member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel she is experienced and respected in the field of family law. Trained as a collaborative lawyer, Clare offers clients a range of options - traditional, and collaborative law - to best meet the needs of the individual clients.




Updated: September 2017


Hide comments (110)


  • Guest
    kayleigh Friday, 23 June 2017


    i advise you read the book 'Help! I'm in love with a narcissist.... you will read countless tales of women who have been with these types of men and explains very simply what's gone on. Stay away and keep your kids as distances as possible... remind them they are special often and it's not their fault their dad is like that

  • Guest
    Tom Wednesday, 28 June 2017

    Different view

  • HiI
  • From my point of view it is not fare to judge by listening to one side. I think to fairly make a judgement we should see what the man says. Why he walked away. What is his idea about his ex's view on his relationship with his kids. I beleave women always want to play victims. I don't believe men don't want kids never, unless they release that mothers want to abuse them through their relationship with their kids. Why should always men have to e blamed for unsuccessful family relationship. I think the only way that makes men behave in such way is that women don't leave another choice for them. It it women's nature which they always want to win, regardless who is going to be victim and how much the victim is going to suffer. They Chang by emotion and act based on emotion.
    What I am sayto the lady that be fare and stay fare I'm sure he will change. Do not act in a way makes him fill you still want to abuse him. :(

  • Guest
    Justice dads Thursday, 30 June 2016

    My brother has a daughter with his ex, they split on very bad terms and she then had an injunction order put on him. He is finding it very difficult on seeing his daughter as it now means my parents have to be around to pick her up for him, one minute she wants him to have her more days a week then she is dropping the days to less, he is a really good dad and his daughter keeps asking to see him more often but her mum keeps saying no, what sort of advice can be given to him as my parents are pensioners and are struggling to have to be there every week to pick her up as the want to be enjoying there retirement with holidays etc but obviously cant as picking her up. Thanks in advice

  • DAD.info Team 1
    DAD.info Team 1 Monday, 04 July 2016

    Hi there - thank you for your comment. It would probably be a good idea if your brother contacted the Children's Legal Centre as they should be able to advise him. Here is the link:


    Our forum page is great as well - if he posts a query on there, our community of Dads and experienced moderators may be able to help and offer encouragement based upon previous experience.

    We hope a positive conclusion can be found.

    All the best

    DAD.Info Team

    Reply Cancel
  • Guest
    Julie Sunday, 11 December 2016


    Hi my son as been told to leave his girlfriand he now lives back at home he as a 3 months old little girl he loves but she will not let him see her or us as grandprents she did say we can see her xmas but now she said no again my son is falling apart and l just do not no what to do. I think the law needs to change and help fathers in these cases

  • Guest
    barbara Thursday, 14 July 2016

    child maintenence

    my boyfriend split from his ex yrs ago he sees his son when its suitable for her and not him she has abondened her son over xmas to me and my bf but then took him back after the new yr my bf pays for his son each time he is with us or when she calls to say he needs somethin the problem is now she is threatening my bf with csa as he wont pay her council tax bill that she owes and baliffs are trying to get my bf has got messages on his phone from her sayin he is not the dad and that he cant see his son because she has reported him in the past to social services saying he is a crackhead and abusive this woman is a total nut job she drinks and takes drugs every weekend and palms my bf son off with anyone as long as she can go out i luv this kid to bits and it hurts me seeing my bf so stressed over it specially when his son calls cryin that his mum has hit him what rights does my bf have regarding the csa threat when he does pay for his son thank you

  • Guest
    Sharon Friday, 15 July 2016

    50/50 rights for dads petition

    Come on dads and friends and families please sign and share. Get 50/50 rights for dads and legal aid bought back to family law

  • DAD.info Team 2
    DAD.info Team 2 Tuesday, 19 July 2016

    Hi Barbara

    It would be really helpful if you could post your question on our forum - the link is below:


    Comments on the forum are looked at by experienced moderators who may be able to help you.

    I hope that helps.

    Dad.Info Team

  • Guest
    Kerry Monday, 25 July 2016

    My brothers ex is trying to call the shots over access and making it difficult for him to see his son . I did not know until I read this site that the rights of fathers are not in uk law that is the most ridiculous thing and it has to change

  • Guest
    julie Wednesday, 10 August 2016


    Hi my son split with his ex 2 years ago, he has a 4 year old son, but has done a DNA test and found he is not the biological father,his name is on the birth certificate. My son is devasted the rest of the family don't know yet. My son still wants to be his dad, nothing has changed in his love for him. His ex has decided to cut all contact and said he is no longer his dad, we haven't seen him for 3 weeks, he had him every weekend and a couple of days in the week, he used to have him 4/5 days a week. Does he have any parental rights or any chance of fighting to still see him? thanks you for your help

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    Guest Thursday, 06 August 2020

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