When a parent has no contact with a child, knowing your rights is essential. In this article we look at a fathers rights after no contact with their child.
What is the legal position regarding parental access in England and Wales? The position is that it is in a child’s best interests to have a positive relationship with both parents.
And the term that’s relevant here is parental responsibility…
Which is where a parent has “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities, and authority which by a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property.”
However, there is an exception. If the child or parent who has primary care of the child is likely to suffer significant harm if the child has a relationship with the parent they don’t live with.
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So, What Happens When A Father Has No Contact With Their Child?
Whether a father spends an insignificant amount of time with their child or is an absent father, that alone does not make a difference to their right to have contact with them.
The key is whether or not they have parental responsibility. Because if they do then unless there is a court order to remove it, they have a right to contact with their child.
The mother of a child automatically has parental responsibility for their child from birth, but a father does not…
They can gain parental responsibility in a number of ways by:
- being registered on the child’s birth certificate as the father, if the child was born after 1 December 2003
- being married or in a civil partnership with the mother on the day the child was born
- entering into a parental responsibility with the mother
- or obtaining a court order that grants parental responsibility
But Can You Lose Parental Responsibility?
Each case is treated on its own individual circumstances. So if a father has been absent from a child’s life for a long time with no contact, then the amount of contact might be restricted initially.
This could mean supervised visits rather than unsupervised, as well as time-limited visits.
The legislation provides the courts with a legal basis on which to work from. It doesn’t give an absent father any right to make contact or have an influence in their life. Which is vital to understand.
Conflicts tend to centre around access, whether a father wants unsupervised visits, overnight stays, or anything else. This can be an issue because it’s decided via a court order or through mediation.
The reality is that whether a parent is absent for 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years, the rights of both parents via parental responsibility don’t change.
So, long story short. A father who has had no contact but has parental responsibility still has a right to see their child. As long as it’s in the child’s best interests.
In fact, while access to a child is the main issue when it comes to the breakdown of a relationship or a fractious former relationship, resolutions can be achieved with the correct legal advice.
The welfare of the child will ALWAYS be the priority in the court’s eyes. You MUST be aware of this before seeking out the advice of a legal professional.
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