Free initial legal advice for dads

18 June 2015

Dads who need help agreeing post-separation arrangements, including child contact, can now access a free initial consultation with qualified solicitors, barristers and mediators.

The Family Law Panel is a free social enterprise delivered by Resolution member solicitors, and family law specialist barristers and mediators nationwide. It has been set up by not-for-profit organisations Only Dads and Only Mums.

Panel members – all experienced in working with fathers – will listen to your concerns and help you understand your options so you can make the best decisions for your family moving forward.

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  • Jeffly Mbulawa says:

    I am a father of two girls and have been in court since 2010 to 2014, the conclusion was for me to have the girls every fortnightly and conduct indirect contact through Skype or telephone. This was successful until a sudden change from the other party in November 2014. My last contact with my youngest daughter was at her school in February organised by the head teacher.

    The mother doesn’t pick up my calls and has not made my daughters available for either direct or indirect contact. She is in breach of the contact order in place but I can’t afford to take her to court. What do you suggest I should do?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Take up the offer of free legal advice!

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      You just need to click on the Family Law Panel link in our article, and take it from there….

    • William A G Tapley says:

      I have been dragged through the ‘family’ courts for the last 5 years and got nowhere, bar bankrupt. They never ever penalise the mother. Even the CSA will tell you that they don’t count court orders as proof that a Dad sees his kids. The official CSA line on the court orders is, and here I quote: “mothers breach them and the courts don’t enforce them, so they’re meaningless to us”

      HOWEVER, it is worth filing an Enforcement Application for £215 and forcing the courts to ignore it to your face, then file another one, then send copies to your MP and contact the press, then tell the court you’re doing that. Basically, the more of us who do this, the more the courts will HAVE to start taking notice. Representing yourself is free – don’t waste money on lawyers.

      The system is woefully biased in favour of mothers – it is nothing less than gender apartheid and it stinks.

      So, we need to fight back and start making the courts look foolish for their prejudice (where there is prejudice, there is no justice).

  • Aaron neilson says:

    Hello, I am a father of 3 boys. I have recently gone through court for my access after my ex stopped contact. After court I went to my boys school play and I found out that my ex while we was going through court had changed there surname to hers. They are registers as Neilson on there birth certificates and are christened Neilson. It was only by chance I found this out so I contacted the school and stated that they wasn’t allowed to be know by any other name which was on our court order.. School have changed there nane but I received a email stating for me to allow them to use Digweed as its her family name and that she’s been using it for some time now.. My boys are now 7,6 and 5 and she has stated its what they want.. She never mentioned it in court or didn’t ask my permission. She’s now treating court if I do not change it back or allow permission. Please advise on what to do. Is there a Pacific court order I can apply for to say she can’t change there name and her allowing or doing it back in September 2014 without my permission is illegal.
    Many thanks
    Aaron Neilson

  • Paul says:

    Hi guys, I have been looking for help and advice everywhere regarding my problem but with not to much help.because of the overwhelming amount of information and details regarding what happen I don’t even know where to start…i feel so overwhelmed by everything and lost…I NEED SOME HELP TO RESOLVE THIS MATTER ONCE AND FOR ALL… for the last 7 years I’ve been emotional abused by my ex wife using my daughter always as a shield threatening me when ever she had the chance that she will take my daughter away from me..she succeed,for the last 8 months I have not seen my ex has a partner that she met on-line after 2 months from our divorce and moved him in the house with my daughter…my daughter has been brainwashed by her her partner and my ex friends who planned all this with her…i know it might sound crazy and not consistent because I can calm down and start from the binging..i need to speak with someone that can help me in person rather then in writing like this…it will be much easier for me to express my self and make my self understood…i really hope someone out there can help me in any way…

  • david smith says:

    My partner and I split after 9 years, we have a daughter aged 7, my partner moved out of the family home, which is very close to her school, and back to her parents which is approx a couple miles away, i am on the birth certificate and i’m very close to my daughter, i have always taken my daughter to school and picked up from a childminder after work so expect little disruption to her life this way but i know the courts often favor the mother in these situations.
    i want to know my chances of getting a residency order?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Sorry but we cannot help with this – you would be best to speak to a lawyer or ideally a mediator. Good luck!

  • Daniel says:

    I separated from my x about 7years ago,about 2 years ago she let me see him when she split up with her husband but when they got back together she stop it.then I had a fight with the husband and I got in trouble with police and they moved away but I heardday that she is taking drugs again and I’m worried sick about him and I would like to no show to do?

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      It sounds like you need to take legal advice on this – if you don’t already know of a solicitor, contact your local citizens advice bureau. Good luck

  • Stephen kennedy says:

    Hello, I hope thete is advice for me. I currently see my children every other weekend, when it’s my weekend it is alternate them saying over night or just for the day. I am in the armed forces and have been posted to a new station which is 3 hours away from where my children live. My ex wife says she wants to keep the impact to our children to a minimum and obviously I agree. However, she won’t let me take the children to my new house because she doesn’t want them 3 hours away. This seems massively unfair! She thinks I should travel back and just spend the day with them in her local area. Any advice? Thankyou

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      What a difficult situation for you. We cannot advise on individual cases, and factors like the children’s ages might play into decisions about how long a journey is reasonable. But it’s great that you are trying to find a solution and perhaps a mediator could help you and your ex-wife work things out in a way that works for everyone. You should be able to find one locally to you…and/or have a look at Only Dads. Good luck.

  • Jonathon Atkin says:

    I have been separated from my wife 11 months who I have a 3 year old daughter with, who I see every weekend and all School holidays.
    I left because of my wife’s behaviour and I’m still concerned about my wife’s behaviour as daughter gets very upset when she has to go home to her mum. I’m on minimum wage and I cannot afford to pay for a solicitor. Can anybody else recommend or suggest away of me getting divorce and custody of my daughter.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We would suggest you look for a local mediation service; if in doubt, talk to your local citizens advice bureau, or contact Only Dads. Good luck!

  • Aaron says:

    I am a father of 2 boys from one mum and have a little girl on the way by another ex so basically 3 children 2 mothers and both of them are not allowing me to have contact with my children. The mother of my boys stopped me 2-3 year’s ago because she got with a new boyfriend and the mother of my little girl has stopped me because we split up on bad terms.I am just wondering what steps I can take legally to get access with my children.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      There is no simple answer to this, but you would do well to take some legal advice and/or seek mediation to re-establish contact with your children. Have a look at the Only Dads website, which may be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck!

  • Jason says:

    the ex-wife and I have joint custody of our son. He currently goes to my school district in which was living in the same district. Now she has decided she wants to move 30 miles away and wants to try add put him in that school district. Can I stop her from moving him to that school district.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      We can’t offer advice on individual cases, but in principle this sort of issue is a matter for parents to agree between themselves. If you are struggling to reach agreement, you may find mediation helpful. Good luck.

  • Shane says:

    Can you give me some advice my husband has 2 children from previous relationship now divorced. However after 3 years she has refused to allow them to see each other after she disappeared and didn’t know where to find her after they live 2 hours away from us. He is now face legal action after not paying child maintaince in the last 3 years… he currently has two other children with myself and if they are to take what they say a month for arrears and child maintaince leaves his current family struggling with only one full time wage a month coming in paying for majority of bills. Can you give me some advice please what to do

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Thanks for your message. I’m afraid we can’t offer advice on individual cases…it sounds like your husband needs to take legal advice; perhaps he could contact Only Dads and/or Citizens Advice Bureau

  • Andy says:

    Hi, my ex and I purchased a house together last August a month after the birth of our first child. I put down the deposit, own a higher share of the property, and paid the entire mortgage the whole time we’ve been here. She decided at he beginning of April, due to what I believe is depression as she has a history of this, that she wanted to split up. We are stuck living together and she soon decided to start seeing someone new. Am I in any position to do either of the following –

    a) stop him from entering my home at any time even when I’m not there?
    b) stop him from entering my home when I am there if she’s invited him?

    I’m completely done with the whole jealousy thing, I’m sick to death of her and her attitude but I am concerned that she is bringing another guy into my child’s life at this young age and also that she is not paying the baby enough attention when she is with him.

    Neither of us are in any position to leave the property at this time although I am in touch with a solicitor regarding my options but obviously want what’s best for my little girl.


  • Mark says:

    Hi, a very long story short, my ex is 4 months pregnant. Unfortunately we are no longer together, which was her decision. Since the break I have tried in vain to build bridges and try and be on the same page for the sake of our child. I have been met with nothing but resistance. I can handle the personal attacks, I refuse to rise up to them the majority of the time, but the constant threats of not going to my unborn child’s scans and birth is beginning to get to me. She has made sure I missed the 3 month scan, and despite my hopes of her stance changing over time, I genuinely believe she won’t let me go to the 6 month scan or be present at the birth. I understand there’s not much I can do about this, but she keeps saying that I definitely won’t be on our baby’s birth certificate. I was wondering if there’s any way I can legally put my name on the certificate without her permission/consent. Thanks.

  • Paul says:

    Hello there,

    I separated from my partner(not married) in December last year and have 2 Children, 2 and 3 years old.
    I am a full-time working father and I am also in the process of repairing my debt, finding a place to live and essentially rebuild so that I can facilitate me seeing my kids more regularly.
    In the beginning my ex-partner(the children’ mother) was co-operative in allowing me see my children regularly but this has recently stopped.
    I am now only seeing my children once per week and if anything at all breaks down during mine and my ex-partners very limited communications then it’s seems very easy for her to stop me from seeing my kids once a week.
    Ultimately, I want to see my kids more regularly during each week so we can have a meaningful relationship but I am aware that without a place to live now(in 2 months I should have a place) and without a car for transporting my children its difficult, not impossible but difficult.

    I am looking into mediation but I just need some advice from an expert how to move forward.
    My circumstances are going to be changing regularly so a set plan now would be different to a set plan in 2 months and when I get a car then the plan may change again as I rebuild and better my position for more regular access.

    Thank you

  • Gavin Gilman says:

    Hi, I had a one night stand 10 years ago, a couple of months later I recieved a phone call from the girl telling me she was preganant & was at the clinic the following day. I presumed she ment abortion so explained I was in the forces & away so was unable, she told me id never hear from her again.

    So 10 years passed & my wife said to me “what if” so I contacted a old friend of hers who I know. Who then informed me he has the same phone call 5 months after me telling him the same. He has raised this boy for 10 years his dates have never worked out.

    Since then i have contacted the girl who has asked why after 10 years I am getiing in touch. At first denting it all but has since admitted there is a chance i am the father.

    My only problem is his father & her are refusing to do a DNA test & asked me if i can forget it has ever happend. Do I have any rights as i am 90% this boy is mine ?

  • Luke says:

    Morning guys,

    I am in desparate need of some advice with a very difficult situation inolving the CMA/CSA.

    Last January, 2015, I was contacted about an 8 year old daughter that I had never known about, naturally I was delighted but scared at the same time but I responded well and got everything in order to have DNA test done etc. It came back positive at which point I started contributing towards monthly payments and so on. My daughter is in Doncaster, as is the mother, and I am in Brighton, which does make things extremely difficult in terms of seeing her whilst trying to help out financially.

    In April I lost my job and was no longer able to help financially during this time and it wasn’t until mid-June that I was then remployed, a month later I then lost my house meaning things just went from bad to worse and I was struggling very much. I’ve recently found a new home on my own in the hopes of being able to have my daughter stay with me from time to time, the relationship with the mother has completely broken down because all she seems to care about is when her next payment is coming in, I have tried and tried to make a relationship work but it just isn’t.

    To my suprise, CMA contacted my new workplace which has left me extremely embarrased and puzzled at the same time, I have had no contact with them, received no letters, phone calls etc and when I did talk to them after they sent a DOE to my workplace, they had completely incorrect information about me, the wrong address, wrong telephone number and so on.

    What they are now telling me is that I owe backdated payments from April (when i lost my job and had no income) and that they are taking £364 per month straight out of my bank account for the next 6 months, this is something I physcially cannot afford and this will make me homeless as I will not be able to afford my rent alongside my legal outgoings such as Utility Bills, I have no “extravagant” bills at all. Purely living costs.

    I have tried to explain this all to them but i’m not getting anywhere with it at all so I’m at a complete loss.
    How can they do this, legally, without any correct information, any contact, or any understanding of my expenditures. What’s to stop anybody pointing at another human being and getting payment demands for child maintenance?

    I’m not on the Birth Certificate, I have no access to the child unless the mother “allows” it, I hadn’t even known about her birth at all because the mother ran away to Doncaster without telling anyone about anything. She had convinced another guy that he was the father and was enforcing the same CMA pressures with him and he wasn’t even the biological father, the law seems to be extremely biased in favour of the mother. When I suggested that my daughter comes to stay with me the mother said “I won’t allow it because you’re a stranger” yet she’s quite happy to take thousands of pounds off of so called “stranger”.

    At no point have I ever said I would not support my child, of course I want to, but I do need to get some serious help and advice about this because to be honest this is making me extremely unwell and to a degree, suicidal.

    Please could I ask if anyone knows where I can turn to with this? I’m not saying I don’t want to pay anything, I do and always had, but I can’t afford the amounts being demanded off me all of a sudden.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated and if I can perhaps talk with someone in a little more depth to explain a lot more about what’s been going on it would help.

    Thanks guys, I look forward to hearing from you.

  • paul says:

    i split up with my x 3 years ago, i have regualar contact with my 2 kids, 14 and 12 . every wed and thur .But for the last 2 years my x wont tell me if i can have them over xmas, last year she told me 2 days before xmas day that i can have them xmas day night. this year she still wont tell me and i cant make plans where do i stand?, i have asked her but she keeps saying none of my buisness , and keeps me hanging on,

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Unfortunately there is no fixed guidance on this; might it be possible that if you went to mediation you could help clarify that it’s important for all of you to be able to make timely plans during this and other holiday seasons?

  • Harison says:

    Hi I’m wondering whAt rights I have,I have a 6 year old daughter,the mother is refusing access as I committed a domestic violence offence,I served 19 months and completed all the courses set out inside and out,the mother brought my daughter to visit me but then got another partner and now refuses to let me have any contact a all

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      You could try mediation and/or seek legal advice with a view to re-establishing contact. Obviously your daughter’s safety will be a key factor uppermost in the minds of the authorities and professionals; they may suggest supervised contact as a first step.

  • Richard west says:

    I I split up with my ex girlfriend early this year and we have been to court and got a court order which gives me regular contact but a couple of months ago all this was stopped, I paid all the court costs myself last time with help from family she knows I’m still paying back this money so can’t afford to take her back to court for breach of the court order my children are aged 4 and 1 I have missed both there birthdays recently and just gone through christmas without seeing them, she has changed her number and blocked me on all social media so I know nothing about my sons welfare or health as my youngest son was born with heart problems what can I do so I can have contact with my kids again I don’t expect full custody and to be honest I wouldn’t want to disrupt the kids teuve been through enough all I want is regular contact like the courts granted

  • Paul says:

    My daughter is a dependent(she is 10 years of age)and she lives with her mother full time in the UK. I do not want my daughter to live here in Canada as she needs to be living with her mother. I arrived in Canada to work and was chosen for a 2 year work contract deal with intent to apply for my permanent residency. My permanent residency application for immigration purposes into Canada could be refused as it is required for my daughter to have an immigration medical examination.My daughter’s mother is being very difficult towards having this examination completed.
    However, immigration could allow my application to be approved on the grounds that I have tried my very best to try and get my daughter’s mother to take my daughter to have this medical exam completed.
    There are repacussions to having my application approved without my daughter’s medical examination completed.
    Canada’s immigration laws will not allow us to sponsor my daughter here in Canada, in the future, if something unfortunate was to prevent my daughter’s mother from caring for my daughter.
    Is it possible to issue a court order to to have this medical examination completed.

    Thank you for your time and response.

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