Parental Responsibility: what it is, why it matters and how to get it

31 January 2013

13Parental Responsibility is a legal status an adult can hold in relation to a child, which gives that adult all the ‘rights and responsibilities’ of a parent. Married parents have this automatically, and so do all mothers. Unmarried fathers don’t.

Does it matter?

Yes. Without PR a parent cannot authorise medical treatment for a child and has no right to see its medical records. A parent without PR cannot veto the child’s adoption, change of surname, or removal from the country for a significant period. But once a parent has Parental Responsibility he has a right to see his child’s medical records, authorise medical treatment, and veto name-change, adoption and overseas travel. And the child’s mother is now expected to consult him on important child-raising issues, such as religious and secular education. All that applies whether or not he is living with his child.

Also note that
• Parental Responsibility does not guarantee a separated father contact with his child. However, it is usually the first step towards it.
• Parental Responsibility can be held by more than one parent-figure of either sex at the same time. Grandparents, step-parents, same-sex partners and other people with day to day care of a child can be awarded Parental Responsibility as well as the biological parents.

So how do you get Parental Responsibility?

There are six ways of obtaining Parental Responsibility:

A. The first way is to have your name put on the birth certificate when you register the birth of your child (if your child was born after 1 Dec 2003).

This requires the mother’s consent (and if the mother doesn’t consent, you will need to go for a Parental Responsibility Order through the courts – see ‘E’ below).

B. The second way is to re-register the birth, and have your name put on the birth certificate this time

C. The third way is to marry the mother of your child

You can be married at the time you register the birth – or you can marry afterwards. However, if you were not married at the time of your child’s birth, and your name is not on the birth certificate, you will need to make sure that, as well as marrying your child’s mother, your name is put on the birth certificate (consult a solicitor).

D. The fourth way is by both you and the mother of your child signing what is known as a “Parental Responsibility Agreement” (PRA).

E. The fifth way is to get Parental Responsibility without the agreement or willingness of your child’s mother – and this is called a Parental Responsibility Order (because a Judge ‘orders’ it in the face of her opposition).

You will need to apply to a court.  Find out more from the Government’s website. You may want to hire a solicitor.  However, it can be quite simple to represent yourself, or take along a “McKenzie Friend” – a lay person who understands the system.  To find out more visit Fathers Need Families

F. You can obtain Parental Responsibility by way of a Residence Order – that is, if a judge rules that your child is to live with you.

Read ‘Parental rights and responsibilities’ on the Government website.

This article originally appeared in 2008 and was updated in 2013.

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  • Ann says:

    My husband and I were not married when our children were born and he was unable to be with me when I registered the birth of one of our children. Therefore, his name is not on the birth certificate. We subsequently got married but my husband recently died and I want to re register the childrens’ births. Especially for the child whose certificate does not show his father’s name. He should be listed as his father. Is this possible?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi Ann, what a lovely thing to do for your children. We think you need to see a solicitor about this (or you could try the Children’s Legal Centre). If you have a look here and download the application form from the second section, you’ll see that where a father has died, they can be put on the form if they were on the first one, or if there’s a legal ruling. Good luck!

  • annick says:

    my partner, who comes from UK,has got a child who lived with his mother after their couple split.But she died nearly a year ago, and now the boy is in care.His father offered him to come and live with us in France, by the way, I’m french,but at the moment, he doesn’t want to.
    My partner never was married, but his name is on the birth certificate. So, what I don’t understand is why has he to claim for parental responsibility, as asked by the social services.
    And has he to go back to Wales to do that.
    Thanks for your answer

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Thanks for your message. The only reason we can think of is if the child was born before December 2003 – it was at that point that PR became available to unmarried dads whose name was on the birth certificate. Worth clarifying this point with the social services team. Good luck!

  • ewen says:

    Can a father with parental reponsibilty arrange for son to have MMR vaccination at his GP? The mother has never wanted this done but with the current measles outbreak I am worried that my son may be at risk.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      This is a tricky one; if you have PR there would be nothing to stop you doing it, but there have been cases where parents have ended up in court over this issue. For example read this.

  • benjamin B says:

    I am 18 my girlfriend is 17 we are together as boyfriend and girlfriend and i have been there since baby is born, at the birth and have supplied everything but the girlfriends mother is taking her daughter to register the baby tomorrow and is refusing to put me on the birth certificate saying i am not good enough. I am still in a relationship with my girlfriend. I want to be a dad, i want to look after my child, i have bought everything she needs completely. What are my rights i am completly devestated they can do this to me. It is evil. The mother is at the back of all this she is a bit nuts. Please help i only have 24hrs.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi there – as you are not married, you are right to be concerned about getting your name on the baby’s birth certificate, as this would give you Parental Responsibility. So it’s worth trying to join your girlfriend at the signing. But don’t panic – it’s possible to add your name later, if she agrees..and if the worst came to the worst, you could take legal action to gain a PR Order. Of course, not having PR doesn’t mean you have to stop being a fantastic dad – there are lots of unmarried dads who don’t have PR but are wonderful fathers – but having it does put you in a stronger position legally. Good luck!

  • Josie says:


    I hope you can help with something my ex-partner is worried about. We were never married but had a daughter and both went to register her birth so both signed the certificate. However, this was before Dec 2003 so I believe that means he doesn’t have automatic Parental Responsibility. That hasn’t been a problem as we usually agree on our daughter’s welfare and he is always onvolved in any major decisions (our relationship is very amicable). What he is concerned about though is this:- if something were to happen to me and I died, he thinks that our daughter would have to go into care for several weeks whilst the courts decided whether she would be able to go to live with him. I was always under the impression that, as her father, care and custody of our daughter would automatically pass to him in the event of my death. This is naturally what I would want and now he has got me worried that that might not happen. I am hoping that there isn’t any need to draw up some legal agreement and that the law really is as straightforward as I am hoping!

    Thanking you in advance for any light you can shed on the situation

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Your ex-partner is right to be concerned. It’s great that both of you are thinking of your daughter’s best interests in this. Your best approach would be to draw up a parental responsibility agreement. Good luck!

  • says:

    hi can someone help,
    my wife wants a divorce says she doesnt love me anymore etc etc.
    she thought she would get the house , money , kids etc etc.
    well its not going her way the kids want to live with me they have told her inc social workers they want to stay with me . the problem is she is getting legal aid and she has tried everything from residance orders to emergancy orders to intrim payments etc etc ,well so far we are still living under the same roof ive spent so much money and the children are getting up set (10 and 13).i dont know what to do next, my solisitor just keeps asking for more money…ive run wife is now threatinig to take my busineess away from me. she is going to carry on this way untill everything is gone then how do i look after my children?do i need a residance order, shall i pay her a intrim money payment, she wont talk or agree? please someone help i cant see an end..paul

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi Paul, it sounds like you’re all having a tough time. Unfortunately we don’t run a helpline for dads in your situation, but we strongly suggest you try to find someone to talk to about things. For issues involving separation and contact, the best places to contact are probably Families Need Fathers ( on 0870 760 7496 or the Centre for Separated Families ( which runs an email advice line (their tel no is 0845 478 6360). Hope this helps

  • Laker says:

    Hi I am trying to download the form for a parental responsibility agreement with the mother of my daughter, but it appears the link is broken, and the website has no link to it either, can I go to court to get a form? (a parental agreement forn NOT a parental order form)

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      You’re right, it seems there’s no obvious place to download the form from – sounds like a phone call to your local court might be the answer

  • James says:

    I was un-married when my first child was born but I was on the birth certificate at time of birth. My second child was born before dec 2003. but then in 2008 I married the mother of my children, does this mean I gained “Parental Responsibility” for both children as I was named on both birth certificates and married ??

  • Carl bevan says:

    What age does a child have the choice of where he lives, mum or dad?

  • Carl bevan says:

    What age does a child have a opinion

  • Sarah says:

    Hello there, Is there any where that I can a copy of the parental responsibility guide lines/ rules ??


  • jason says:

    hi I have 4 children with my ex-partner but I’m not the biological father
    of 2 of the children and would like to know if it is possible to get pr for them the same as the other 2.


    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi Jason, it’s possible to get PR for children who are not biologically yours, but you would need the mother’s permission (and that of anyone else who has PR for them – which might include their biological father, of course). If you were not married and do not appear on their birth certificates, you may ALSO need the mother’s permission to get PR for your biological children. Good luck!

  • nigel says:

    hi my ex partner and i have hit a brick wall as in she wants to change his name to hers and wonts her new bloke to have pr and does not won’t me to pay towards his up keep i see to many gray issues can anyone advise please

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi Nigel, thanks for your message. If you have PR yourself, then your agreement would be necessary in order for anyone else to gain PR in relation to your child.

  • olga says:

    Hello my child is born in USA but we are going to live in UK. I am bulgarian and the father is usa and bulgarian citizen. The kid have only usa citizenship for now because I am waiting for apostille. We are separate and I want to obtain full parental rights- so I can decide everything related to my child without his permition. I don’t know where he is now and I am currently in bulgaria. Please tell me for some way to optain the rights. Thank you

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi Olga, Thanks for your message. I’m afraid we don’t offer a legal advice service. It sounds like you need to consult with US and Bulgarian lawyers in order to decide on the best course of action.

  • Worried Father says:

    I’m so confused. My two children were born in 1999 and 2003, respectively. We were not married at the time. We have recently seperated and my ex-partner is claiming that I have no parental responsibility rights over my children…is that correct?

    I have no idea if my name is on the birth certificates because my partner won’t allow me to see those documents – I await copies of these from the registrar.

    Can anyone offer any advice? I have been to Citizens Advice but the advice they’ve given is confusing and contradictory.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi there – by the sounds of it, you need to do some work in order to ensure you have PR for you children. If you read the article above, you’ll see that three of the six ways of obtaining PR might apply in your case: B or D (which involve having the agreement of your ex-partner) and E (which involves going through the courts). Good luck!

    • Bal Kumar says:

      Hi mate. If she is being difficult with you and denying you to see the birth certificates and the children, then best thing to do is see a solicitor and seek the court to give you PR. The majority of the time PR is given to unmarried fathers who pose no risk to the kids. The court will see it in the best interests of the children to know who their father is, therefore go through the court system. Obviously, if your ex is considerate (most unlikely) then PR can be done without court.

  • Wendie Wenzel says:

    Hi, I hope you can help! My son found out last Thursday he was a father, shock, the mother has mental health problems and has since been sectioned and since been admitted to a mental health unit along with baby! My son needs a DNA done for legal reasons as he needs PR and the birth needs to be registered! Will this help him allow the medical and social services to speak to him re baby, the baby was put on an at risk register prior to even being born….. Worried worried worried!

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi there – you’re right, in a situation like this your son would need to establish paternity; the birth then needs to be registered and from this should flow his Paternal Responsibility. We hope the professionals working with the family treat him with respect and allow him to play his key role at this vital time, while also supporting your grandchild’s mother to get better as soon as possible. Good luck to all of you!

  • james says:


    I’ve just recently split from my girlfriend of 12 years. We have 2 children one born 2001, the other 2002. I am on both birth certificates, but i don’t recall doing a PRA. My ex is being nasty and awkward about everything. Does she have the power to change our childrens surnames or take them out of the country without my consent? (the later i think she’s just saying to hurt me). Or could you advise on how I go about stopping any silliness pls. thanks james

  • tracy says:

    my partner is an unmarried father and split with his partner 8yrs ago he obtained a parental responsibility order in 2010-11, although the child was registered at birth with his surname, the mother changed this, did she have the right to do so and does my partner have the right to re-register his child back to his surname now he has the pr order?

    Thanks in advance

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      You would need to check with a lawyer but our understanding is that the mother would have been allowed to change the child’s surname (because at the time the father didn’t have PR) and that to change the name again would require the agreement of both parties with PR. Hope this helps

  • James says:

    Hi im having problems with the mother of my son, about 5 months ago she came to me telling me i was the father of our child, which i am now paying maintenance for and happy to do so but it seems thats all she wants from me, she is making it impossible for me to see or bond with him she wont register me as the father and as much as i dont want to take actions through the court she seems to be leaving me no choice, but when reading about taking action through courts they take in to account what bond the child has to the father and how committed the father is to the child, i am very committed to spending time with him but as mentioned shes making it impossible for me to see him regulary so theres no bond between us so im worried the court would reject a parental responsibility order if i were to try and get one is there anything else i can do?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi, thanks for your message. Sorry to hear about your problems. If you haven’t already done so, perhaps you could try talking to a mediator to see if this helps you come to a solution outside the courts. You can find a local mediator via or If that doesn’t work, find yourself a good solicitor (you may find that Families Need Fathers can help with this, or contact Resolution,, which represents family lawyers committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes). As for bonding with your son, don’t worry too much – you should act quickly to establish a relationship as soon as possible, but remember that being a father is a long game. Good luck!

  • peter says:

    Hi my son just split with is x last week she would not let him see is son she got him arresteded for assult which was supposed to have happened three weeks ago in the middle of the night all charges have since been droped no evidence after the police rang to tell him the police said she did not want further contact unless through a solicitor
    well next day she rang me i am his dad i have tried to stay nutral because we are concererned about the babys wellfair so i am still able to go round the house to make sure he is ok.
    she rang social services on herself after getting her mates around to give the house a good clean she is using canabis and other pills
    of course when social services came round all was spotless but i have been told by one of my sons friends she covered up his cot mattress which was all mouldy with a clean sheet.

    now she as changed her tune because she wants me to take her to as she says a mediation place to sort out access for my son so he can see his child well nothing as changed since last week exept her parence wont take her they have never botherd with the two children she as one which is 8 by another man the boy as not seen his dad in years my son as looked after is son 24/7 since he was born it is breaking his heart not seeing is son
    the thing is if when i pick the baby up how would it affect my sons position jf we choose not to return him there are no court orders in place at moment and is name is on the birth certificate the baby is three months old i dont whant to make it difficult for my son
    eny addvice would be most appreciated

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We cannot advise on individual cases but would urge you, your son and his child’s mother to work together to make the most of the support on offer from social services and mediatiors.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We cannot advise on individual cases but would urge you, your son and his child’s mother to work together to make the most of the support on offer from social services and mediators.

  • Tom says:

    Hi, I am the biological father of a 6 year old boy who lives with his mother elsewhere. I have parental responsibility as I’m on the birth certificate. I have a relatively good relationship with the mother of my child and I see him regularly. My current concern is that the mother has asked if the step father (they have two younger sons together and are marrying soon) can have parental responsibility. Whilst i understand and approve of this action and she has made it clear it would be a three-way arrangement, I am concerned that this sets a murky precedent. For example: If she was to die would this action give the step father more rights to my son than me? And therefore automatic custody of the child?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      This is a complex situation and we would advise you to consult a lawyer to make sure you understand all the possible implications

  • reece says:

    hi i am going through a sticky court battle to see my son.. cutting a long story short i was not put on the birth certificate but in the past 2 years i have taken her to court to get access to my son and parental responsibilities. i was wondering as i have this am i entitled to have a copy of his birth certificate. and have it changed so i am known as the father? also if she is going to get a passport would i have to sign anything as i have parental responsibilities. thank-you for your time and help.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We cannot advise on individual cases – we suggest you consult a family mediator or lawyer

  • joseph says:

    I am 18 my ex partner is 17 i have been there since the baby was born and have also tried my best to support her through pregnancy going to all baby scans, antenatal classes and also just generally meeting up for company and support,I believe she has gained some hate towards as at the time I found out she was pregnant we had split and wasn’t on speaking terms at this point she wanted to get back with me but I didn’t feel it was possible to get back into that situation and breaking up again which would have made things worse so i decided I will just do my best and be there for the baby, I believe all children do need a father whether the parents are together or not. I arrived at the hospital shortly after birth and have supplied nappies,milk,bibs,blankets,wipes etc for the baby but after saying that she is happy that I am here to support her and be there she will then suddenly switch and claim I do nothing for him which really baffles me, before I found she was pregnant with my child I found out by her that she had bi-polar which explained a lot of things I had started to notice about her, my baby’s mother is taking him to be registered soon and is refusing to put me on the birth certificate knowing that I won’t have PR , she is trying her best to do everything she can so I have no legal rights to my son, i want to look after my child, I have tried to support her and have bought things the baby will need but she still claims I am a waste of space. She is looking at this from the totally wrong angle I know she will try her best to provide and care for the baby but our child needs his father as well,trying to cut me out the picture is pure evil and wrong.what can I do ?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We cannot advise on individual cases but it sounds like it might be sensible for you to consult a mediator or lawyer

  • amy says:

    hi, i was just wondering how i would go about this situation. the father of my son disappeared while i was pregnant and now have found him and spoken about our son he doesnt want no contact with my son and neither does his family until he is older but has said if something ever happened to me he would take my son on but as he’s never been in my sons life he wouldnt get PR if i was to pass away would he? as i would prefer my son to live with my father (his grand-father) my son was born in 2010 and his father never signed the birth certificate. is there anyway i can insure my son would be raised by my father if the worst was to happen? as i dont feel its appropriate to put my son into a life where he doesnt know anyone or any of his surroundings

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We cannot advise on individual cases but suggest you consult a lawyer about this

  • abi says:

    hello my name is abi .. i have a 11 month old little boy out of wed but farther is named on birthcertificate.. we recently split due to isses with him including drinking and being aggresive ..i need abit of help i need to know weather him having pr automatically means he has to see his child .. he made one payment towards my boy since the split and has only seen him two whole days … he sees him maybe a hour or two here and there but nothing for days its not regular .. we had a agreement between us .. written but not signed ,, explainind when he sees him , what he will contribute and a agreement that any new partners are not to be introduced to my boy untill 6 moths have passed and the other ex have meet them first .. he broke this after three weeks of splitting and introduced someone after one week … he doesnt look after my son when he is in his care he forgets to give him a drink has not fed him on occasion … any help would be grately appreciated x

  • Daniel says:

    I am looking for information regarding my two Daughters and what rights I have to see them.
    My ex-partner and I live in seperate homes and my eldest child is not mine biologically. My name wasn’t put onto my youngest daughters birth certificte eithier due to the mothers benefits being stopped and I wasn’t at the registry office when the birth certificate was made. We are still in the “getting on” phase but I would like to find out what I would need to do to insure that I can carry on being their Dad, in case things turn sour.
    I have them for an hour on Monday and Thursday evening and overnight from Friday until Sunday evening when I return them back to their mothers.
    My children were born in 2004 and 2006.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We can’t comment on individual cases – your best next step might be to find a family mediator or lawyer to help you reach a resolution

  • Sarah says:

    Hi, I’m enquiring what rights my partner has to his children. The eldest is 5 but biologically not his and no name has been put on her birth certificate although hes supported her from birth. The youngest is 3 and biologically his. The mother constantly threatens him to not see the children and is not allowing him to move on with his life. My partner has them both and pays for them for half the month and has been doing so since the youngest was born and they seperated. He does not get a day off to himself as the time he’s not with the children he is at work. The mother is controlling his life and bullying, shes even called social services making false claims. Social services eventually concluded my partner is a good father but the stress it caused him and his family is a reason why he’s getting to the end of his tether. he’s worried of standing up to her and losing all rights especially for a child that is not his. Help!

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Sorry to hear about your partner’s difficulties. We’re not able to offer individual advice on this site, but would suggest that consulting a good family lawyer might be a sensible next step.

  • David says:

    I have recently got married to a woman who had a child. I would like to be able to be his step-dad officially, and I am not sure what the easiest way to do this, i.e. I am not sure whether I get all the same rights as my wife if I get Parental Responsibility, or if I have to adopt him in order for this to occur. When my wife and I got married we changed her son’s name to mine by deed poll.

    The biological father of my wife’s son, has never been on the scene, he emigrated when he found out she was pregnant, and is not on the birth certificate. My wife would like me to have the same ‘rights’ as a father.

    Can you advise me please on whether you would be able to help, and what it is that I would need to do.

  • Natalie says:

    hi just wondering if this is possible, my sons biological father has never seen my son, he didnt turn up to put his name on the birth certificate – i was wondering if its possible wether me and my partner (we get married in 2 weeks) to apply for him to have full parental responsibility over my son, without his biological dads permission

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      If you were married to your son’s biological father, he retains Parental Responsibility regardless of whether his name is on the birth certificate.

  • Alex says:

    Hi There,
    My long term girlfriend has 2 boys and is long since divorced from the biological father who deserted her years ago. She has agreed that I should apply for parental responsibility so we can be more of a family. We are, however, not married. Does this matter as far as applying for PR?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      You are able to apply to have PR but the biological father would need to consent. You should consult a lawyer to pursue this action.

  • olli says:

    please can you help me my son was born in february this year, and he and his mother were living with me and about two months ago they went out in the morning and never returned. she wouldnt let me come with them to register the birth and she gave him her last name and her first name as his middle name, she does not get on with any of her family and her mother and father havnt spoken to her for years and do not know how to get in touch with her, she has very few freinds and has changed her number. when my son was a week old she took him out for a walk and wouldnt let me come with her when it started to get get dark and a couple of hours passed i went out to look for them, she had just taken him out in her arms no pushchair no hat, then i rang the police and they found her in a supermarket changing room. and then social sevices got involved, now they know where she is but they cannot tell me where they are as i do not have parental responsibility. i contacted my local law centre for legal aid so they can reunite me with my son, i have been waiting amonth and a half ringing them every week they keep telling me the solicitor dealing with my case is in a meeting and they’ll call me tomorrow but never do they are completely useless and they have done nothing at all to help i need parental responsibility i need to be with my son i miss him so much its outrageous women are allowed to do this to the fathers of there children, fathers should have eqaul rights to women regarding their children iam completely powerless in this situation no man should be denied the right to watch his children grow up. if anybody can give me any advice how to get my son back i would appreciate it so much

  • sarah says:

    hi my names sarah
    my son who is due to have his tonsils out, my sons dad is on the birth certificate but were not married and never have been, we are no longer together my son was born in 2008 does he have PR can he stop the operation im trying to do whats right for my son who has had tonsilitus 6 times this yr and its only june my doctor referred him to have this operation done for the best interest of my son HELP

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi Sarah, if your son’s father is on the birth certificate then he does have PR. We cannot offer advice on individual cases, but perhaps if you are concerned about him not agreeing to this operation, you could ask the doctor to speak to your son’s father and explain why the operation is necessary?

  • helen says:

    Hi, i hope someone can help. Whilst still married(but seperated) i became pregnant when i went to register my son i was told that as we were still married he would be presumed as the childs father, we were 22 and 23 extremely nieve, even if not his biological father so we went a head and put him down on the birth certificate, which he came with me to do. I since married my sons biological father and are stuck he does not have PR my ex husband obviously doesnt want PR and my husband wants to be on his sons birth certificate. We are all on civil terms with each other and me and my ex feel that when registering my sons birth we were given real duff imformation. Any ideas what we can do or any sites you can suggest that would point us in the right direction.
    Thanks Helen

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Thanks for your post. As you recognise yourself, this is a complicated situation. We cannot comment on individual cases, but do remember it is important to put the child’s best interests at the heart of any decisions you make, so you would need to think carefully in terms of how the legal situation might reflect the reality of how your child is being fathered (bearing in mind that there is more to fathering than biology). All parties should seek legal advice. Good luck!

  • Gig says:

    Hi. I’m a bit confused about the automatic parental rights issue. My son was born in April 2005 and at the registration of his birth his father was asked if he wanted to sign a parental responsibility form and he declined. I therefore assumed when we split that he didn’t have any rights. Without the form is parental responsibility automatic if he is named on the certificate?

  • Ian says:


    I was not present for my sons registration of birth, but was added to the birth certificate in March of 2011, does that mean that I have parental responsibility?

    We are not married.

    Many thanks

  • sensei001 says:

    Hello, 10 month ago my daughter was conceived, during the 9 months it took her to be born, myself and the mother fell out. I tried to be involved with the pregnancy as much as possible only to be ignored for more or less the last 7 months of pregnancy.
    I called and sent messages numerous times only to have her ignore me.
    I was notified 4 days after my daughters birth, at which point the mother allowed me to visit, i have been there whenever ive been needed, provided whatever has been needed despite the mother being difficult and referring to me as a cash camel and a sperm donor through text message. (which ive saved)
    I asked her to tell me when we had to go sign the birth certificate to which she agreed, i only just found out today that the mother has already signed the certificate without my knowing and didnt notify me. Therefore denying my PR. What can i do about this? My daughter means the world to me and im scared the mother will try to cut me out of her life.

  • Tash says:


    My daughter is 15 (16 in February). I divorced her natural father when she was 7 and promptly remarried. Would you advise an adoption of her by her step-father even though she is fairly old/close to 18. What other options do we have in securing her links with her step-father and confirming his rights as her father.

    Thank you

  • John Jones says:


    My daughter was born in 1999, my name is on the birth certificate, but I am not married to her mother. I am now separated from her mother who is denying me access.

    Do I have Parental Responsibility and do I need this to obtain a Contact Order from the courts?

  • Clare says:

    Im concerned about the welfare of my 3 sons who did have weekend visits to their dads.
    over the last few weeks hes put all 3 in danger! my 4 yr old came home with a burned leg cos he sat him next to cooker whilst he was cooking and dropped a pan on him!!! and he also had the older 2 boys on a school night but he dropped them at their primary school 7:30am 30 mins before breakfast club was opened but he just left them there with no one looking after them.
    Since I had words with him about this he’s told me and the kids to do one.

    Am i able to stop PR?


    My son (10 months old) doesn’t have a father who is involved really. He hasn’t bothered with me or my son since I found out I was pregnant apart from a few texts. My fiance however has been there practically since my son was born and has been an excellent father figure and I would like him to have PR over my son. The biological father is not on the birth certificate so is it just a straight forward form filling and it is sorted in this case? My fiance wants my son to be aware of who the biological father is and would never stop any contact if he was to want any in the future but I was just wondering how simple/difficult it is to sort PR for my fiance for my son. Thanks.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      From the sounds of it this should be straightforward as your son’s biological father does not have PR, and your fiance has day-to-day care. A solicitor should be able to arrange this for you.

  • Nick M says:

    Hey I have a 4 year old girl. I am on child support and my name is on the birth certificate, iv been there since day one and i also give and help out when needed. but the mother of my child want let me see my little girl or let her stay with me for the summer. and i feel like if i dont do anything rigth now, i will never have a good bond with my child because the mother talk bad about me. what I need to know is what do I need to do to get rights to see her or keep her for the summer? you can send me an email at or lev a comment on here thank you.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      You need to address this calmly and sensibly with your daughter’s mother, and try to come to an agreement. You may find that a mediator can help, or if that doesn’t work, you could appoint a solicitor. Read our FAQ: Contact and Residence for a summary of your options. Good luck!

  • johnson says:

    My ex partner has recently had our child and things never went smoothly. When discussing parental responsibility she became very cagey and said that i would not need to as i could rely on her for access and decision making. If this changes in the future i feel it could affect my relationship with the child.
    What should i do. Please help.

  • Paul says:

    I’m unsure where I stand with this one, basically my son came to live with me in March 2007 and hasn’t seen his mum since as she chose her new boyfriends over her own child (yup, evil..) he keeps asking to change his name from her last name to mine.
    Since we’ve not spoken to her since this happened and we were never married, how do I go about getting parental responsibility ? If it’s through the courts then would she need to be there as well ? We would rather not get in contact or see her to be honest…

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      It is possible to gain a Parental Responsibility Order through the courts without the mother’s consent. However, try to think also about your son’s best interests. Children miss their mothers too, so tempting as it may be to follow a road that leads to total exclusion, consider carefully whether it might be possible to use your gaining of PR as an opportunity to build bridges with her. You could try contacting a mediator or solicitor to help you think through your options. Check out our Dads’ FAQs: Contact and Residence for more ideas.

  • Chloe says:

    My partners 15 year old son has come to live with us,
    His mum has been saying she will sign everything
    Over but has done so and just comes up with
    Reasons that its taking so long, my partner has
    Given up work to look after his son due to him being
    Disabled and I can’t look after him as pregant with twins
    And have a 17 month old, at the moment we are
    Living on money due to have not helping what can my partner do?
    To make her sign things over

  • john says:

    I’m the biological father of a 10yo who I’ve seen regularly since his birth. I’m not on his birth cert. I don’t live with his mother. I’d like to be on his birth cert and his mother wants this too.

    Do his mother and I need to re-register with the registrar or is my only option a PR form?

    Kind Regards

  • robert o'neill says:

    hi. can someone help,i have pr for my two sons aged 13 and 16.i was seeing them reguarly up into a year ago then contacted stoped.there mother keeps in touch for maintaince and keeps telling me i can see them soon but never happens.and keeps telling me she will ring the police if i come near the house and getting no informtion about the children at all.please advice me.thank you.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      I’m afraid we can’t advise on individual cases like this. It sounds like you need to have a good chat with your boys’ mother (and the boys themselves?), and if necessary think about mediation. You can find out more about this in our Dads’ FAQs (have a look at the Contact & residence and Separation sections). Good luck!

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We can’t advise on individual queries like this unfortunately – but it sounds like you need to have a good chat with your boys’ mother (and the boys themselves?). You may find that mediation helps – for more information about this check out our Dads’ FAQs. Good luck!

  • Ashley Bowen says:

    Hi, I have a daughter of 2 and me and her mother recently separated but we were not married.I am named of the birth certificate, would I need to obtain a parental agreement to have the ability to make decisions such as applying for a passport and taking my child abroad with the mothers consent?

    I would very much appreciate any advise.

  • Jodie says:

    Hi I’m 17 years old and my mum has had her 2 boys (my younger brothers) taken off of her from the social services last November, they are currently living with my nan and now they are planning on taking them off my nan because they think she is too old for full parental responsibility
    I really don’t want them to get taken into care. I was wondering if I could take responsibility of them if I got my own place/house?
    If so would I have to see a solicitor? And, would I have to wait until I’m 18, which is later on this year?

  • craig townsend says:

    My ex partner already had a child then we got married but since then we have been divorced do I still have pr of the child I see him every wkd

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Marriage does not in itself result in PR; as this is not your biological child and you are not therefore on the birth certificate, you would need the agreement of the mother and anyone else with PR (for example the biological father, if he was named on the birth certificate), in order to gain PR.

  • Larry says:

    My ex partner has informed me that she is planning on moving around 80 miles away, i have parental responsibility for our son however i only have saturday access and am not able to provide my son with a place to stay over night as i only have a one bedroom flat currently.

    I do not drive and it would be difficult for me to travel to see my son however she is stating that she will only bring him to this area once a fortnight, and if i wished to see my son the other weekend i would have to travel up there.

    She is stating that she needs to move to this area as all of her family are there and her husband has a job offer there whereas he is unemployed and she is saying that he cannot find a job in this area and they cannot afford to say into this area as the rental prices are high.

    I pay 20 pm maintenance but am currently unemployed and as such am unable to pay more towards my sons upbringing.

    Is there any way that i am able to stop her moving so far away?

    She has also mentioned that she is looking to give her husband parental responsibility for our son, is she able to do this?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Sorry to hear about this potentially difficult situation. When parents are separated it can often end up that they wish to move further apart, and this can obviously prove difficult. The fact that your son’s mother says she will bring him to the area once a fortnight does suggest that she sees the importance of you retaining an ongoing relationship, which is a good place to start as your discussions progress – and the reasons given for moving also sound quite reasonable. There’s little chance that a court would block the move; but perhaps you could look at how to organise your contact in a way that allows you to maintain and even strengthen your input into your son’s life eg perhaps spending more time with him in the school holidays, or for overnight/weekend stays (even if that meant you sleeping on the sofa)? In terms of your son’s stepfather gaining PR, this would only be possible with your consent.

  • simon crossman says:

    Hi.I discovered via facebook that my ex partner(we were not married)is taking our 3 children to Australia.I am worried they will not return as she has no family here but a brother in Oz.
    They are aged 12(born 2000),10(2002) and 8(9 before they go I think)
    My name is on all their birth certificates.
    What rights do I have to ensure they return or prevent them going?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      It sounds like the first thing to do might be to ask your children’s mother about the possible Australia trip and how long it might be. Parents who work well together are able to discuss potentially contentious issues like who takes the children away and when, without things becoming heated – and that’s what you should be working towards.

      A person with parental responsibility can make most key decisions about how their child is raised (such as consenting to medical or dental treatment or school trips). Unless a court order says something different in their case, they don’t normally have to have the agreement of anyone else with parental responsibility to their decisions, although it is usually better for the child if they do.

      However they do need the agreement of everyone else with parental responsibility to take the child abroad unless:
      • they have a residence order (or special guardianship order in the case of a non-biological father-figure) on the child in which case they can take the child abroad for one or three months respectively without everyone else’s agreement; or
      • the child is in care under a care order in which case Children’s Services can arrange for a child to be taken abroad without the agreement of others with parental responsibility.

  • Rachel says:

    hi im hoping someone can shed some light on my dilemma!
    right, my brother met this girl almost 18months ago, they saw each other for 3 weeks and a month later found out she was pregnant. anyway she didnt really know who the babys dad was at the time and my brother ordered a DNA kit off the net (costing £130!) and basically results came back the child was not his. in the mean time she went away and did various tests with other possible fathers. in that time my mother passed away suddenly and my brother (unknowingly to everyone else) became depressed. she came knocking on the door back in may last year and created a massive fuss and panic telling us he was definetely the dad…… even though results came back negative.

    we were in the process of doing another DNA with the CSA and my brother became severly depressed over other things that he took his own life last october. (his reasons were purely because of my mothers death)

    anyhow, this girlkeeps contacting me and telling me shes going to solicitors and wants to put my brothers name on the babies birth certificate.

    can she do this? what can i do to prevent it? what are the rules and regulations surrounding this? would be grateful of any reply!


  • lee ward says:

    My girlfriend of 17 years so sadly two years ago she was diagnosed with cancer of the ovaries and testis. and we have four children 13 .10. .9 & 5 year old. She had an historicity and after she got better from the oppression. we found out the cancer had spread to her been there too support here for 16 mouths are relationship broke down and sadly we split up i still had my children to stay weekends at my house ..but sadly she passed away two weeks ago and her mom is looking after the kids and iv not seen em as she won’t let me .im on all the birth certificates for..and her mom has got the social services involved and now thay doing a report of some kind.iv tried to go and see a solicitor. But because its a civil matter i can’t get legal aid.and im on j.s.a and im so worried about my kids state of mind as they have just lost there mom and can’t see there dad

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Thanks for your message Lee. What a sad story. Social services should be in touch with you, but you should also be proactive – you could try getting in touch with the relevant local authority and explaining the situation to the social services team (you can find phone numbers here: You may also find it helpful to contact your local citizens advice bureau (, and the Family Rights Group should also be able to help (have a look at their website at and/or call their advice line on 0808 801 0366, which is open Monday – Friday 9.30am – 3.00pm). Good luck!

  • Amanda says:

    hi couple of queries as to how has PR over my children obviously both myself and their father do. But I have recently re married. Does this give my husband PR or would we still need an agreement??

    Also my ex husband has a new partner who as I see it has no PR at all and has been able to take my son to the dentist and sign for medical treatment surly this isn’t correct.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi, thanks for your message. Both your husband and your ex-husband’s partner would need PR agreements in order to gain/exercise parental responsibility – in each case there would need to be agreement from all other parties with PR.

  • Katie says:

    Hi. I am just wondering. I have a two year old son. His biological father was very aggressive towards me and my son and me and my son were put on the at risk register. He hasn’t seen my son since he was 2 months old but is on the birth certificate. Is it a possible that he could be removed of the certificate due to his actions

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      I’m afraid we’re not able to advise on individual cases – you would need to seek legal advice over this.

    • Alex says:

      Hi Katie,
      You cannot remove the fathers name from a birth certificate. It is a legal document providing a statement of fact. The fact remains that he is the biological father irrespective of his qualities as a parent.
      Best wishes,

  • Kirst says:

    Hi I have a 4 year old boy..I broke up with his dad when he was a baby..his dad’s name is on his birth certificate..he has been in and out of my sons life like a yo-yo..I have been with my partner now nearly 3years..myself and my partner have talked about what would happen to my son if anything was to happen to son loves my partner also..but I do not want my son to go and live with his dad if anything was to happen to me…I don’t know how I give my partner rights of my son..I know my sons dad would not sign any paper work to allow there anyway I can do it without him signing or knowing?? I really need some advice xx

  • martin hartshorn says:

    Hi i have two children with my ex partner an her bf recently was arrested for hitting my eldest child social services are involed an just yesterday i was told a supervison order as been set up so he can see his child but this also involves my daughters an i dont want him seeing my kids social services told me theres nothing i can do as my ex as pr an said yes to him seeing them but im on both my daughters birth certificates so could i denie any access of him being able to these visits with my children

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We are unable to offer advice on individual circumstances. If you have genuine safety concerns, we suggest you seek professional/legal advice.

  • Jen says:

    My daughter is 13 years old. Her biological father never wanted any contact only now she is 13. He is not on the birth certificate as he never wanted to be when i gave him the choice to when she was born. I met my partner when she was 3 and we have both brought her up. My daughter has been texting him now for a few months and he has manipulated her in getting our address saying he’s spoke to a solicitor and they are not happy with me for not letting her see him. The things he has said to her are wrong and worrying. Im worried about our safety as he’s saying nasty things about me when Im the one who has brought her up. Really need advice. Thank you.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Your comment is unclear as to why you are not letting your daughter see her father. We are unable to offer advice on individual circumstances, but you do say that you both brought your daughter up from an early age, so it seems possible that a positive relationship between them could be established – and that both parties may be motivated to achieve this; regardless of your relationship with him, perhaps you can find a way of supporting them? If you have genuine safety concerns, we would suggest you seek professional advice.

  • Karla says:

    I’m currently pregnant. (31 weeks)
    I’m from New Zealand but we are in the UK. We have been approved a fiancé visa so we are actually due to marry approximately June (visa expires July 2016)
    It seems now my whole world has turned upside down.
    I love my partner, I gave up everything to be with him here in the UK. I thought he would change (drugs, drinking to name a few things) but I’ve fallen into this trap of denial. I am devastated.
    I literally only got back from new Zealand last week as I needed to apply for my fiancé visa from there. I was so happy we could now marry.

    Now im in the position where I need advice on whether or not to put him on the birth certificate? ?
    Im guessing I could then apply for a NZ passport on my own and then can I leave the UK without the father’s permission? Before he tries to take me to court?

    I’m not looking to be judged. I love my partner but I need to protect myself as i have no family or friends here. I would allow him contact in the future but I need a solution for my situation right now.


    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      If you are not married, your child’s father would need to be on the birth certificate in order to gain PR. Having PR does not guarantee a separated father contact with his child, but it is normally the first step towards it. A father with PR could potentially veto significant overseas travel. We cannot offer advise on your individual circumstances, but we would stress that unless it is genuinely unsafe, it is important for children to know and have regular contact with their father, regardless of your relationship with him.

  • Paulina says: married but me and my husband has separate 1 year ago. I got new partner and im pregnant. Could you tell me please whos name will be on birt certificate of my child? Can i put name of my new partner (biological father) or they will put my husband as a father. Thank you.

  • Jonathan says:

    Hi. My 15 year old son has been living with me now for the past 4 years because his mother couldn’t deal with him and his dislike for her new partner. I claim child benefit for him and everything has been fine, however, she has now split from her partner and demanded that my son go back to her because she wants full maintenance. My son does not want to go back to her and wishes to remain with me but she is adamant that he goes back with her claiming that because I don’t have PR I have no choice but to hand him back to her. Please could you offer some advice?

  • welsh says:


    My daughter was bron May 2004, I was not married to the father. Father is on the birth certificate, does this mean he does have PR??


  • Monique says:

    The father of my child is not from South-Africa and by the time I gave birth he was not present. His details is not on her birth certificate. We are planning on visiting him next month in Spain but I’m worried when getting to a border we won’t be able to cross because of this matter. I spoke to home affairs and they told me if I want to re-apply for a new birth certificate where his details is added we will need to do DNA test first. In the meantime is it possible to get full parental responsibility for her in order to cross the border and how long does this order usually take to be issued?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Sorry we are not able to help with this; we suggest you speak to a legal professional local to you. Good luck

  • Damian says:

    My child was born on 2nd November 2001. I was with the mother at time registration took place. We wasn’t married. So I was wondering if the mother and myself could re register the birth so i could gain PR..even though my child is now 14. She lives with me full time and has done for many year’s. But sadly I can’t sign legal paperwork at hospital ect.

  • Annabel says:

    Hi, I have a complex situation here. Please I need your advise. I am currently pregnant for my ex boyfriend who is a British. We already broke up when I realised two weeks later that I was pregnant for him. I now have a new partner who has accepted me and the baby as His. Can I apply for a leave to remain because of the British baby? Also I have not yet informed the natural father because my current British partner is happy to be daddy to the baby amd wants his name on the birth certificate and also give the baby his nationality and doesn’t want my ex to interfere with our relationship. Is it ok to make him the dad of the baby and still apply for my leave to remain? Cos in either way both men are British

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We cannot advise you on leave to remain – you would need to talk to an immigration specialist about that. As for deciding who to name as the father, it is important to think about this in terms of your child and its need to know its origins. Being able to trace one’s genetic origins can be important both medically and emotionally. More broadly, whilst it may now seem convenient for your boyfriend to ‘stand in’ as father, can you be sure that this will always be the case? If this relationship were to break down, where would that leave your child?

  • Raheena ali says:

    Hi I want to find out my x husband name is on brith certificate I have two boys with him we are not togther anymore and he wanted to see my kids I have social worker invloved aswell.. The father use too see my boys over the weekends and holidays my x have a drinking promble he use too drink in front my kids and that was not good for them they were doing bad in school cauE of that and in the holidays my kids went to stay with him for 1 week and my younger child told the social worker that my father was showing him something was not good for kids so the conact was stop now he is willing to see kids again and threading me to give me hard time cauSe on brith cerfite his name on it so what is the best thing I can do plz advise me cause I really don’t want the father to see kids… Thank you

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      I’m afraid we can’t help with advice on individual cases, but as a principle your social worker should be supporting both you and your children’s father to develop and retain positive relationships with your children. Parental responsibility/ being on the birth certificate is not really the point here…this doesn’t give either parent the right to contact. If your social worker feels ill-equipped to engage effectively with your child’s father (or other fathers), he or she can find some very useful resources and training courses on our website. Good luck.

  • Steph says:

    Hi my son is 11 years old in July his father has never had any contact with he has never had a birthday or Christmas card from his biological father who is on the birth certificate. I have been married to my husband for 9 years and he has brought my son up as his own. My question is do I need the biological father’s consent to change my sons surname? I have no idea where his father is and have never seen him since my son was 9 months old. Any help would be appreciated

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Yes you would still need his biological father to approve a change in surname, because he retains Parental Responsibility.

  • yeye says:

    I have a 2 year old. The biological father wants to be part of my childs life. But he doesn’t want any responsibilities. I been taking care of my son without him helping me at all. He doesn’t even no what it is to take care of a child. I decided to move on and be with someone that cares for me and my children. My son biological father wont leave me alone now that he nows that i have moved on with someone that is helping me with my son.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      It is not clear from your comment what you mean by ‘he doesn’t want any responsibilities’…perhaps you mean responsibility for providing financial support? This is, of course, important – and a Citizen’s Advice Bureau could help you ensure your child’s father ‘pays his way’. However, as a separate issue, it is all parents’ responsibility to support their children’s relationship with their other parent, unless it is unsafe to do so – and even if there are other father- and mother-figures in the child’s life. It can feel very difficult to achieve this if your own relationship with this man has broken down, but many thousands of parents manage it very effectively. Perhaps you could talk to your local children’s centre or a mediation service about ways to handle things so that your son can benefit from the HUGE advantages that having a positively involved father can bring. Your son will thank you for it in the long run. Good luck!

  • Aaron says:


    I have a son who is five years old, I used to see him every weekend his mum would make it difficult for me to access him. It has been a year now and I have not seen him, as his mother does not allow me too. I show up at the house she does not answer, I cant call her I can only text her but she can contact me. She sends me very abusive texts all the time which I do not respond too as the older I get I have learnt it does not get anywhere. All I want to do is see my son I offer to give her money she wont give me her bank details. I finally thought we were getting somewhere as last week she contacted me and asked if I wanted to see him. I said I would pick him up on Thursday (yesterday) I text her several times on Wednesday and yesterday asking for the address of his school. She responded with abusive texts again and no address. I am on the birth certificate what can I do?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      There is no simple answer to this, but if you cannot sort things out amicably, you may need to take some legal advice and/or seek mediation to re-establish contact with your child. Have a look at the Only Dads website, which may be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck!

  • Lucy Porter says:

    Hi, I have 2 daughters born Feb 2002 and Dec 26 2003 so one falls within the new parental responsibilty rules and one under the old one (their biological father is on both birth certificates).
    The children have not had any contact with this man or any of his family for the past 7 years, I dont even know where he is living now.
    I am now married and my husband wants to adopt the girls. As far as I understand I would not need his permission for my elder daughter, does this apply to my younger daughter also due to them being siblings or not?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      If he is on your second daughter’s birth certificate, he has PR. We would suggest you take legal advice; good luck.

  • Em says:

    Hi there, need some advice.
    I separated from my first two kids in 2011 due to his aggressive nature and just loss of interest on my behalf, due to the mental abuse from him, born December 2006 and February 2010.
    I met my current partner in 2011,few months after I separated, we have been together since and had our own child between us.
    My eldest now 9, 10 this December has asked my current partner to become her real dad, as about a year ago, I refused the biological dad immediate contact as during the times he had the girls, they said they would be ignored or sent to bed early for ridulous thing ‘s, wouldn’t take them out or treat them, whist able to fund the pub that weekend,and screaming the fear of God into them when they done something wrong this being something minute, just didn’t take proper care of them, for example,I said if he can sort himself out I’m happy to continue contact, which he has not chased me up about what so ever, didnt ring up just accepted defeat.
    He doesn’t pay any maintenance, but his dad had said he’ll throw all the money at solicitors so that the kids would go to his brothers to be cared for, if anything happened to me to prevent my current partner adopting but has said he rather keep thing ‘s as they are in terms of the contact with him the biological father himself knowing of his lack of duty and care, the contact we are arranging has been agreed by me and his mum only to be supervised only, so his mum in a way is already deemed him incapable of being a loan parent , they are pretty loaded, whilst we are not, atm, kids don’t see their biological dad but we are meeting to see how his situation and capabitly
    , which I’m concerned about if we need to cover court fees etc.
    What can i do, he literally doesn’t have pr but is on the birth certificate, and my current partner, does everything a dad should, and has provided a home and everything else they need. What’s his rights to gain pr of my girls, this was the request of my eldest specificly as she doesn’t want to be left in the hands of the bio dad. Tia

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Your partner could obtain PR via a legal agreement, but only with the agreement of the biological father. Has the biological father applied for contact, or do you have an informal arrangement (it sounds like the latter…and that his parents are keen to help out to get this working…so perhaps your focus could shift towards helping him, his parents and your children to work out a successful solution that involves regular contact (supervised at first, if necessary).) Perhaps a mediator could help? Good luck

  • Andrew Jones says:


    for the last 2.5 years I have been in the belief that I am the father of my child, I have been with my partner for near five years now.

    Sometime in our history there was a drunken night in which she slept with another man!

    Forgive and forget is the motto!

    However now we have a mess, the drunken night is the the child’s biological father, whilst we was both in the belief that I was the biological father my details are on the brith certificate and my son shares my surname (unmarried at the time)!

    Having brought the child into the world and been his father for these years, we have a father and son relationship, to the point I am daddy!

    Please can you advise on my current standing?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      So legally speaking you are the father, but you are – rightly – concerned about your child’s right to know his or her biological origins. The first thing to say is that not being the child’s biological father need not diminish your unique relationship with him or her. The rest…how you handle introducing this third person into your child’s life…there is no straightforward answer to this…but many people have faced similar situations and managed it very well. Good luck!

  • Sarah says:

    My children’s biological father is dominican but lives in Germany. He hasn’t had contact with the children science the birth of my daughter 9 years ago. I am in contact with him though occasionally. The children do not know him and want nothing to do with him. I have been married to a wonderful man for almost 4 years and he supports them in every way. Both my children have medical conditions (asthna, epilepsy, ADHD, asd,etc) I was shocked to find out my husband has no rights to my children and cannot sign to give permission for anything. Because of my children’s medical conditions, that they have had no contact with their bio dad fir several years and that he lives in Germany this is very worrying for me. Please could you advise on how my husband can acquire parental rights/responsibility for my children. Thank you.

  • Anthony says:

    Hello i need a little advice as a father i dont have PR and my daughter is now 14 she wants to live with me. we have a close connection what actions should i be taking to make this happen?

    thanks in advance

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      It shouldn’t be necessary for you to have PR in order for your daughter to live with you, especially if everyone agrees to it; and even if the case were to come to court, it would take her wishes and those of the other relevant people into account. If you would like to obtain PR and/or would like more advice, you should consult a family solicitor. Good luck

  • Dale V says:

    Ok so I’m 18 and my girlfriend is 17 we are not married and we are having a son do I have any authority over my son like medical rights or anything alone those lines. I keep hearing that because we aren’t married I have no rights and can’t decide what my sons gets and what he doesn’t I’m just trying to keep her mother from taking over my son what can I do or what can be done???

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      You can get parental responsibility by being on the birth certificate; this shows that you are the father and will be an important first step towards building a meaningful relationship with your son. Congratulations on becoming a father, and good luck.

  • m gower says:

    hi my current partner is desperate to see his two young children but his ex there mother is refusing access eveytime he tries to see them or speak to them she threatens to call the police he doesnt know what to do and its not fair that his children think there dad doesnt want to know them but hes trying his hardest an it breaks my heart that he cant see them

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      It sounds like your partner needs to take legal advice, in order to re-establish contact. Good luck

  • Bobbie says:

    Hi my son whom I have bn in his life for nearly three years until three months ago when me and his mother split up over an argument which resulted in her attacking me but we separated and I recieved legal advice where as she didn’t buy she has recently handed my son to my sister on a temporary basis but my solicitor has contacted me saying I have full parental rights my sister dosent so can I legally take my son without any problems because social work are wanting to do a home check but despite all that my solicitor told me there was nothing legally binding from social work so what do I do..I feel as though I’m being ignored I have recieved no letters from anyone apart from a phone call saying I have full parental rights but my sister is being told buy social work that she can give me my son but it’s causing family problems because no one actually knows where they stand…thanks for listening

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      You need to sit down with your solicitor and go through all the options, before deciding how to proceed. Whatever happens, remember that your relationship with your son is for life, regardless of the relationship with his mother. Good luck.

  • Hannah Philo says:


    I was with my husband for 10 years. I was pregnant when I met him. After having the baby and the biological father not being interested we applied to the court and my husband got parental responsibility for my son. We have since had another baby (4 yrs old). My husband left me 2 years and is now wanting contact with his biological child but not my son who knows him as daddy and he has parental responsibility for.
    I was wanting to know if he has any responsibilities to uphold or if it would be easy to get a judge to remove parental responsibility from him if he doesn’t want contact with my son.

    Thank you for your time

  • Marty says:

    My son is 11 (almost 12) and wants to live with me. His mum is happy to allow this but I don’t know what to do to make this official. My ex and I were not married but I am named on the birth certificate.

  • Sam says:


    im hoping someone can help me.

    i split with my sons mother 4 months ago, my ex has been fine with me AND girlfriend seeing him picking him up dropping him off ect for the past 2 months, however yesterday when i picked him up she decided i can no longer see him if my girlfriend is going to be there? there is no reason why she is saying this other than the fact she is bitter about me being with someone else… my girlfriend is really good with him and has never been aggressive or abusive towards my son infact she loves him like he is her own.

    can my ex stop me seeing my son on those grounds?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We can’t really comment on individual cases like this, other than to recognise that sometimes parents feel threatened by the idea of their children forming relationships with new partners (which is understandable) – but also to stress the need for both parents to ‘take the long view’ and keep the focus on the child’s best interests (which is vital, but can also feel difficult at times). If you are struggling to sort this out privately, you may find mediation helpful. Good luck.

  • Lana says:

    My daughter is 8yrs old her biological has never been around and is not on her birthday certificate…is
    a certain amount of yrs before he is not able to ask for a pr and a DNA test to make it legal …hes know he was the father from day one …but has never been around at all…my daughter doesn’t know anything about him…he’s not a very good person

  • S N says:


    My Wife has recently passed away. She had a little boy with another man whilst we were married. There is no father on the birth certificate and the father has played no part in his life for the past 2 years. We stayed married, and I played an active role in the childs life, as a father figure. What rights would I have with regards to putting my name on the birth certificate, and with regards to parental responsibility. She made it very clear to many friends that she wanted me to have responsibility for the lad, should anything happen to her

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Thank you for your comment. How very sad. It’s not clear who the boy is living with now, but it sounds as if you might already have PR, because you were married to his mother when he was born. This doesn’t answer the question of what the boy’s relationship with his biological father might be/become, of course….perhaps in a strange way, the loss of his mother might open up the possibility of both of you playing paternal roles of some sort? Stranger things have happened!

    • Leanne says:

      Hello Rena,

      I’m a Specialist Perinatal Nurse. What are
      you worried about in the labour process that
      you think will jeopardise your partner having
      access to your baby?

  • Rina says:

    Hi, I’m hoping you can advise us on a conundrum. My partner and I are expecting our first child in a few months. My pregnancy is classed as high risk due to a number of health issues. We are concerned in case the worst happens during labour. From my limited understanding, as we are not married he has no parental responsibility (pr) over the child from birth until paternity is proven. Apparently, this also affects immediate contact and care for our newborn. We have a considered a shotgun wedding as it similar in price to obtaining a statement of guardianship (an option suggested to us) but obviously not ideal especially so close to the birth. A parental responsibility agreement would possibly be the easiest solution but these appear to only cover the period from birth as it asks for the child’s date of birth etc and we want to make provision before that. Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I find this whole process unnecessary stress and archaic in this age. We have been together for almost 8 years and my partner should have the same rights and responsibilities for our child as I do without waiting to register the birth to be granted any.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Hi and thank you for your thoughtful message. We wish you well with your pregnancy and hope very much that your concerns remain totally theoretical!! Having said that, you raise a relevant issue – and one which we have written about previously here. Do read the story…it may help you decide whether or not to ahead and opt for a ‘shotgun wedding’! Unfortunately, nothing has changed since the article was written: joint birth registration remains on the statute book but un-enacted, and unmarried fathers remain unprotected in law. Please stay in touch and let us know what you decide!

  • Tyco says: daughter will be 18 next year and she wanted to surprise her uncle by adding him as a father figure on her birth certificate,im a single mom never married and my brother has been taking care of us ever since she was born as for the biological father he has never ever respond or took responsibility for us so we decided to put him(my Brother) as a father to my daughter..

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      What a lovely idea. However, birth certificates are a matter of biological record rather than, necessarily, of day-to-day lived experience. The biological father is, for better or worse, your daughter’s father – even if there is, in fact, a blank space on her birth certificate. This in no way takes away from the huge importance of your brother in your daughter’s life. He will take great pride in simply being present and witnessing, as her true, involved day-to-day father, her 18th birthday; perhaps she could find another way to celebrate his significance (ensuring he is fully acknowledged at key family events, for example: her future wedding/civil partnership, christenings/naming ceremonies, graduations etc spring to mind)?

  • Ken says:

    Hey guys! Here is the situation. My son met a young lady 5 1/2 years ago. She had a little girl and my son took her and her daughter as family. They were married in September of 2014. His now step daughter’s birth certificate has no father identified on it. The gentleman who is her father knows of her, has never paid any child support, never seen her ever. My son wants to adopt her. Does this gentleman have any rights to block this adoption?

  • Jose says:

    I have a daughter with this lady who is much older than me, she is 43 years old and I am about to be 25, we are not married, and we have been having so many issues because she wants to take our daughter to Dominican Republic (her home country) for a full week, and I’ve been seeing so many things that are going on in there right now crime related, and I just don’t feel comfortable with my daughter being there with out me, she keeps threading me, that if I don’t sign the permission to take my daughter out of the country, she will contact a lawyer to make sure it gets done. My question is… Even if I don’t feel safe letting my daughter go to DR with her, can a lawyer still make me do it…?!

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