Bendles award winning family law team always make you and your children’s best interests the top priority. We are here to help guide dads, mums and even grandparents through making important decisions such as who will have parental responsibility, working out the details of living arrangements and deciding how much time will be spent with who.
To help guide Fathers through what can seem at times like a biased system, Family Solicitor, Hannah Smith, has debunked the top five most common myths attached paternal rights:
MYTH 1. Unmarried Fathers have no rights in respect of their children
This is false. Any Father named on a Child’s birth certificate acquires Parental Responsibility. This can only be removed by an Order of the Family Court. If you are not named on your Child’s birth certificate, then it is correct that you do not have parental responsibility, but if wish to have parental responsibility for your Child then you can apply to the Court for a Parental Responsibility Order.
MYTH 2. Children live with their Mother automatically on separation
This is not true either, there is no automatic right for children to live with their Mother following parental separation. Usually when parents separate, it is common for the children to remain with whichever parent remains in the former family home and this is usually the Mother. However, the Court will always consider what is best for the Child’s welfare when deciding with whom a child should live.
MYTH 3. A Mother can stop a Father from seeing his child whenever she likes
Only if the Mother believes that the Child may be at risk of suffering significant harm or has evidence that the Child has suffered significant harm in the care of the Father then yes, they can exercise their parental responsibility to suspend contact, usually until matters are looked into in more detail by professionals.
MYTH 4. A Mother can take a Child on holiday out of the country without telling the Father
If there is not a Child Arrangements Order (to live with) in favour of the Mother then you cannot remove the Child from the country within which they reside without the consent of everyone with parental responsibility, this includes the Father. However, if the Mother has a Child Arrangements Order (to live with) they can remove the Child from the country for a period of up to 28 days.
MYTH 5. The Court always sides with Mother
Courts consider a Child’s welfare as it’s paramount consideration when making any decisions as to where a Child lives and with whom a Child spends time. The Court has a positive duty to facilitate contact between a child and both parents and will presume that the involvement of both parents will further a Child’s welfare unless they are provided with evidence to show this would not be the case. The Court also must consider a “welfare checklist” which is a list of categories that the Court considers individually and against the others.
If you need further advice on your legal rights as a Father, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly and experienced Family Law team today.
Written by Hannah Smith, Family Law Specialist