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
    Jacqueline Saturday, 20 May 2017

    My brothers ex is a horrible lying drug user

    Hi I need help, my brother and his ex split up 9/10months ago as he found out she was using cocaine and it was the final straw for him .
    They have 2 children who absolutely idolise threre dad and he idolises them , they are a son who is nearly 11 and a daughter who is nearly 5.
    Now both children spent most of there time with my brother and our family as she was always out or she would go to work and never come home we not until about 5 in the morning anyway.
    Her family are a disgrace her parent kicked her out when she got pregnant with her son and my parents took her in they then didn't have anythink to do with her or her son for a couple of years even right up to the very end of there relationship she would get invited to tea at there house but wasn't allowed to take the children with her .
    Since they split my brother and his ex came to an agreement between themself's and a mediator that they would both have the children equally and they signed this agreement aswel.
    She has been with someone else now since February and she has moved him in straight away . Every time it is her turn to have the kids she goes to work leaving them with her new fella and when the kids are with my brother she is off work which I dont understand .
    Now out of the blue 2 weeks ago my brother whilst with his kids got severed with an injection on him from her . She had been to court and said she feared for hers and the children safety as my brother is violent and abusive which is absolute rubbish and she has not let him have the children.
    Her parents are involved in this as she has not got the brains to think of any of this herself . Especially her step dad he is one arrogant vindictive horrible man who is very controlling but as the induction states that it is up to her who has the children my brother cannot go get them or he can be arrested .
    We managed to get a solicitor for him who has charged us 750 pound and he is in court on Monday to fight this injection as everythink in it is a complete lie and my brother has the prove that it is even his solicitor has said that his ex doesn't have a case and she want her dad bringing befor the judge as he keeps threatening my brother as to were the kids are concerned again to which we have the prove . But.......my brothers solicitor has told him that as quick as she gets the injunction off him his ex can apply for another and another and another but every time she does this it will cost him 750 pound.
    Now I don't understand how the children can be kept away from him when he has parental responsibility for them . And how come she has automatically assumed it's her say when it comes to the children when my brother has had them since they were born ???? We don't know where to go to fight this nor I don't think we would be able to afford it either my brother is self employed the time he is off work he doesn't make any money and obviously still has to pay the bills . She is on benefits + working 2 jobs and has lied about the children being with her 24/7 also she has not told them her new fella lives with her . None of this can be right as where is the justice for my brother and the children it is killing all of them as they have told there mother and there father that they want to live with him please please help and point us in the right direction.

  • Guest
    Robin Tuesday, 06 June 2017

    Please help

    Hello I have resently split with my ex partner about five yrs ago and we has a son together at first things was good but now I just feel that I have let my son down all because my ex isn't letting me see him properly as it is I'm not on my sons birth certificate so I don't know what rights I can get I've even tried give her child mantanice but she has refused, I even tried opening up a bank account for him but couldn't I'm getting so depressed and hurt that I Carnt alway see my son and I only can see he when it suits her and some time when I do get to seem I ve to ask her what her plans are course she don't inform me of what she is doing so now she has not long got into new relationship and its making things very differcaut as she been refusing me to see my son when I have asked its starting to get that bad it's making me ill and feel depressed so please I need help and advise of what to do about this

  • Guest
    Dee Kai Wednesday, 07 June 2017

    Looking for info on where I stand as a mum.

    Hello. I've stumble across this site looking for info on my child's fathers rights to weekly visitation at his house.

    Back ground info. Father has not played a part throughout my son's life. He is 5 in October. He has seen him a handful of times . Last time was his birthday last year where o invited him to the party. The time before that he left a 2 year gap.

    He doesn't call or send him cards but may text me every few months.

    He denied he was his dad for 3 yrs until I went through CMS where a DNA test was done and now he has been ordered to pay a monthly sum towards care.He is not named on the birth certificate due to not turning up to the registry office.

    He has lied about names , his address and his date of birth in the past and I have never once heard from his family so I believe they do not know about us.

    It turns out he has 2 other children he is paying for according to CMS which I never even knew about. I dong know where he lives, never been to where he lives. I don't know who he lives with or anyone else connected to him because he has worked at kerping secrets and now he has messaged me saying he wants my son at his house every weekend.

    I'm rather concerned about this if he decides to act up on it.

    Where do we both stand please?

  • Guest
    sting Friday, 09 June 2017

    advice needed

    hello all, I'm messaging on behalf of my bf, he has in the past been arrested for assault from pub fights when he was younger for the past 5 years he's not done any of that and is holding down a job.

    his ex which he has a 5 year old boy with keep bringing the young boy to the area in the idea of my bf seeing his son however the night before every time she turns around with an excuse for him not to have his son this time she has said that his son doesn't want to spend time with his dad. she hardly lets him FaceTime him so as time goes on the connection will start to lessen. I've not been in this situation so have no idea what advice to give. every time she denies him he has a little brake down. and gets more and more bitter about it. and advice would be really helpful thank you.

  • Guest
    Mr X Monday, 12 June 2017

    What are my rights?!

    My ex is moving and taking my child away. I normally see them every week for a couple hours every few days and every other weekend if allowed. This will now stop due to the move. She won't let me meet the guy that my kid is gonna be living with (I don't know him at all) she's had social at her door a few times but lied her way out of trouble and I don't know if my kid is going to be safe. I don't know school or address but according to her I have no rights and can't stop her taking my kid away! There's even rumours to suggest the child's not even mine but can't do test due to costs. I'm so confused at the moment it's getting too much

  • Guest
    Desperately dad Thursday, 15 June 2017

    Where should I Stand

    My ex disappeared with my two children and I haven't seen or heard from them for nearly three months. I used to look after them. She set the social service with false allegations and they do not tell me anything. I also think that my lawyer is not fighting for me. The fact I do not have the money to pay a good lawyer. Can anyone help me? I am desperated.

  • Guest
    Tom Thursday, 15 June 2017

    Help please... child maintenance question

    I am seeking some advice on my situation please.II split from my wife in January this year after finding out she was having a three month affair. She is not great at telling the truth. We have had a 50/50 care arrangement in place until now. However she has recently found out that she can claim maintence off of me and has told the DWP that I only have my son one night a week. This is a total lie and I can prove I have him 50 per cent of the time. Unfortunately like everything else the system is weighted towards her. When I contacted the DWP to explain my situation and offer proof they informed me that they have to take her word for it and I would need a court order to get it corrected. Can anyone tell me if this is correct please? As to me it seems like extortion I.e either pay way too much maintenance to my ex. Or have to pay between 2 and 4 grand to take it to court. Thanks

  • Guest
    Jay Monday, 19 June 2017


    Hi, I need some advice please.

    I live near manchester and my kids live in devon. I have 3 girls under 10 yrs of age. I make the 257 miles each way journey once a month to spend the weekend with them, I also see them at xmas and easter 3 days at a time and a week in the summer holidays. I pay maintenance money each month too.

    My ex is saying that she does not think that is enough time spent with them, I work 11 hr days monday to friday and am in a commited relationship for the last 4 years. She is now saying that If I want to see them then I have 2 options. Quit my job, and my relationship and move closer to the kids. or go through the courts to see them. My ex is also in a relationship so its not about wanting me back or anything. She wont let me brink them up to the north west to stay either. it has always got to be in devon.

    I just dont know what to do or where to start. Although working full time I cant afford to go through the courts and also think it would be unhealthy for the children.

    Any advise would be appreciated.


  • Guest
    Javor Thursday, 22 June 2017

    Forgotten father

    Hi All
    My x has taken my daughter with her without my consent and left London. She moved out to country side and she blocked me on her phone and on Facebook. I don't know where my daughter lives and what's going on. Some how I come a cross on the Google my x has a new kid with someone . Is there any way of finding where my daughter lives and if she's ok ? I have not seen my daughter for two year's now.

  • Guest
    Kp Sunday, 25 June 2017


    What is a reasonable amount of time(hours) for a dad to see his 4 week old baby?

Leave your comment

Guest Thursday, 06 August 2020

PLEASE NOTE: If you have a specific question for DAD.info or for other dads, please post it on our Forum.

We may use your email address to respond to you about your comment. View our Privacy Policy for more details.