Divorced fathers automatically have more rights than single fathers. Divorced fathers have the same legal parental responsibility and thereby the same rights as mothers. However, there are many cases where divorced fathers have to fight for these rights and pursue the battle in court if the mother is unwilling to allow the father access to his children or involvement in their lives.
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A divorced father with parental responsibility has the right to know where their child is living and to see them on a regular basis. Most families arrange contact time with the family amicably and independently. Where this is not possible the court will try to help the couple agree on contact and will step in to make a contact order if necessary. In some circumstances the father will be denied access to their child. However, this is rare and will be as a result of something serious such as child abuse. The decision to withhold access will be based on the child's best interests
The mother of a child who is divorced must consult her ex-husband on any major
decisions affecting the child's upbringing. This will principally include the child's education and health. A divorced father is entitled to access the child's school reports and medical records. According to U.K. government's website, Directgov, other decisions under 'parental responsibility' include deciding on which religion a child follows, disciplining the child and agreeing to any change of the child's name. If the divorced father strongly opposes the mother's decision on an important issue affecting the child he can apply for the court to make a 'prohibited steps order.
According to law firm Mills & Reeve, a lot of people believe that if one parent moves the child a long way from the absent parent then they can get around the parental rights legal situation but this is false. Although such a move would have an impact on the absent father's contact with the child, he still retains those fundamental parental rights. If a divorced father finds out that the mother has abducted the child and has not informed him of the child's whereabouts he can go to the court and apply for the child's immediate return. This law applies whether the child has gone abroad or just moved to another part of England and Wales.
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