Visitation Rights for Fathers in the U.K.

Updated April 17, 2017

Fathers in the U.K. naturally want to stay close to their kids, even after a divorce. One of the easiest ways to do this is by reaching an agreement with your ex, which can be established as legal through the services of a lawyer. This only works if the relationship between you and the ex is still somewhat amicable.

Contact Order

A contact order is issued by a court in the U.K. and determines how often fathers have contact with their children. A court has to take a few things into consideration before issuing such an order. It has to consider what the child's wishes are, the child's emotional and educational needs, any possibility of harm coming to the child and whether the father is able to satisfy the needs of his child during such a visit. A court order is not required if the mother is on good terms with the father and both work in private to reach an agreement.

Order of Residence

An order of residence determines with whom the child should live with. In the U.K., if no order of residence has been issued, the child automatically stays with the mother. Fathers can apply for an order of residence for full custody, but it is not realistic to expect an approval. The reason is that courts will only give full custody to the father if there is a real, urgent reason that a child should not stay with the mother.

Parental Responsibility

In the U.K., parental responsibility is automatically given to the mother. Parental responsibility is the mandate to provide a home for the child, make decisions about the child's welfare and education, and protect the child. Fathers can obtain parental responsibility if they can get a court to award it to them or if they can work out an arrangement with the mother. If a father has parental responsibility, he has a right to have a say in determining when and how often he can see his child.

Birth Certificate

Fathers in the U.K. have a better chance of getting to visit their children if their name is actually listed on the birth certificate. Sometimes, this clear-cut visitation right of fathers can be put to the test if there is a bad relationship with the mother. In such a case, the courts then have to intervene to decide on agreeable visiting opportunities for fathers.

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About the Author

Herkermer Brisbane started writing professionally in 2004, working for Internet properties like Internet Brands. He studied English at Vancouver College.