Although courts generally consider it preferable for parents to share a child’s custody, there are times when the courts may consider granting full custody to one parent. The courts are not permitted to show any bias against fathers as if you can show you are the better parent then there is a chance of you getting full custody.
While unmarried fathers remain liable to pay child support, they have no legal rights to act on behalf of the child. An exception to this rule is in the event of an emergency, for example taking the child from the mother’s care to protect the child from harms way.
Getting full custody will mean applying to the court and the magistrate will take into consideration what is in the best interest and wellbeing of the child.
Parental responsibility is a legally recognised status in having a duty to care for and look after a child. If you have parental responsibility, then you effectively share the same rights as the mother over the care of the child. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have equal rights in contact over the child.
Unmarried father’s do not usually have legal rights unless they have parental responsibility over a child.
Parental responsibility can be acquired by way of a parental responsibility agreement with the mother, being married to the mother prior to the child’s birth or by being registered as the father on the child’s birthday certificate after 1st December 2003.
If neither of the above apply to you, don’t worry you can look to acquire father’s rights for full custody of a child UK through an application to the Court.
If mediation or reaching an agreement has not been possible, then you may wish to consider going via the Court’s to seek an Order to start the process of getting full custody.
The court will make a decision based on the following:
If you’re an unmarried father looking to secure fathers custody rights via the Court, you should expect to be prepared for the following:
A father should be aware that if they are granted full custody of a child UK the courts will often grant visitation right to the child’s mother. If circumstances change, then the mother can later petition the court to have the residence order changed, however the court will take the child’s wellbeing and wishes into account when coming to a decision.
The court will endeavour to assist both parents to reach an amicable agreement when deciding on full custody of the child uk; this is where Cafcass can help. Cafcass look after the best interests of the child and may prepare reports to help the court in reaching a decision. When an agreement cannot be reached then the court may make an order regarding care and contact, however, this process will only take place if it would be better for the child than not making an order.
Step-fathers relationships with step-children can be difficult to maintain after separation. If the mother prevents contact between you and the child you can possibly apply for a contact order if you have lived with the child for over 3 years. Before doing so, you wish to explore other options such as mediation with a family lawyer.
The law is not biased against mothers or fathers. The judge will decide on what is best for the child and increasingly it is recognised that fathers have a significant role to play in the child’s life after separation. It is quite rare for a father to be denied contact altogether, a Family Lawyer will be able to give advice regarding this.
There is no doubt that gaining custody is complicated; however getting expert legal advice from a Family Lawyer can really help you to be clear where you stand and feel more in control of the situation.
If you’re looking for someone to help with your child arrangement issues, we have family lawyers in York.
Did you know that we also have family lawyers in Harrogate as well as Manchester and London so we can never to far from you.