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Does he have any legal rights?

(19 Posts)
theUrbanDryad Mon 03-Sep-07 11:19:11

Hi - i'm asking this on behalf of a friend. She has 2 older dc (9 & 10) with her dp who is sadly dead. Earlier in the year she got together with a new partner who she got pg by very quickly. They have now split up. She was keen for him to have access to the baby, but he is being more and more of a total arse about everything, and she's wondering if he actually has any legal right to see the baby at all, or whether she can just get on with it on her own?

TIA

zmandaz Mon 03-Sep-07 12:17:22

As far as I know, he will have a legal right to have access to and help with the decision making in regards to the child. He can apply for a parental responsibility order which would set out visiting rights and he'd have to be consulted on major decisions etc. She should get some legal advice - try CAB to see where she stands.

Tinkerbel5 Mon 03-Sep-07 14:37:56

sounds like its better for her to just get on with it on her own, if the ex was present at the birth and his name is on the birth certificate then he will automatically have PR, if not its down to him to get it.

LWandLottie Mon 03-Sep-07 15:11:45

If his name is on the birth certificate he has equal rights to the mother, and parental responsibility. However, I know that in Scotland, a father can't just demand to see the child as the laws are slightly different, especially if the couple were never married. Now sure about anywhere else though.

If your friend stops his contact, unless he is abusive or violent towards his child, he has every right to see his child. If she does stop contact, it could go against her if he decides to take her to court for access etc.

LWandLottie Mon 03-Sep-07 15:17:36

directgov is a good website to look at for this kind of thing.

janinlondon Mon 03-Sep-07 16:12:42

Is the baby born yet?

theUrbanDryad Mon 03-Sep-07 17:25:08

thanks for all your replies.

the baby is due in November, so not born yet. I doubt very much whether he'll apply for PR somehow, but if he does, there's no way she can stop him is there? he's not been abusive or violent towards her or her other kids, just been a bit useless. i think her view is that she'd rather the kids grew up with a secure single parent home, without the interference of a father randomly popping in and out! having said that, if access could be agreed, and stuck to then i think she'd be happy with that too!

such a difficult situation, thanks for your help!

Alambil Tue 04-Sep-07 10:51:43

depending on what happens from now til baby is born, I strongly advise NOT to put his name on the birth cert

It has made my life hell regarding stupid "parental responsibility" stuff - in that my ex can stop me sending ds to a particular school or travelling if I so choose (for a LONG trip) or doing all sorts of stuff

This is what a man can do that hasn't seen my ds since he was 1, hasn't paid a penny in maintenance and doesn't even know where we live (altho that was a safety issue) .... what right does he have to tell me what school ds can or cannot go to ?!!! I hate the law and advise anyone in this situation to consider the implications ... if he isn't reliable, don't put his name down.

janinlondon Tue 04-Sep-07 11:49:55

A close family member of mine felt she should put her child's father's name on the certificate even though he was clearly absent. There have been awful repercussions ever since (eg: not allowed to get a passport until he said she could, not allowed to leave the country with child without his permission, etc etc). I would seriously consider not putting his name on the certificate.

weedoogie Tue 04-Sep-07 13:27:15

to put a different view - if he is the father then surely he has a right to a relationship with his child? The fact that he behaves like an arse doesn't stop that does it? Otherwise no parents would ever have rights to see their kids. We all behave like arses at some time.

And couples who have split up are pretty likely to think that the other one is an arse. You both need to think about the child's benefit - and a child should have a right to a relationship with both parents where possible.

Both parents should discuss the future and the well-being of the child. I guess whoever has care of the child will have the ultimate say (and that is likely to be the mum), but the father should have an input

Alambil Tue 04-Sep-07 13:33:26

an input yes - but PR gives them CONTROL

there is a huge difference - for example, the dad could say "well, this is my opinion on x y z (a school for example) ... " and a discussion ensues; absent parents with PR could easily say "no, not going there - baby will go here" and no discussion - they have flat control all cos they have PR ... it seems to give them power, not input

Input and relationship can be gained without having PR - PR is just a PITA and best avoided if you are on rocky terms with the absent parent (IMO)

McEdam Tue 04-Sep-07 13:37:21

Agree with those who have said don't name him on the certificate. The number of threads I've seen here by people who are having major problems because their exes mess their children around, fail to pay maintenance and use PR as a tool to punish the mother... best avoided if possible.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 04-Sep-07 14:04:32

being an arse with your ex-partner does not mean you are going to be a crap dad. It can just mean you've had a bad relationship and you're angry.

I think the best way to think about it is not the father's right to see his child, but the child's right to know and have a relationship with their father. This is the only biological dad this child will ever have.

I think you'd be being a damn good friend if you reminded her to not bring contact issues in to the adult relationship/legal stuff. It matters not a jot to the child. What matters to the child is that the people who decided to bring it into the world, both live up to their responsibilities.

McEdam Tue 04-Sep-07 15:09:01

The father can have a relationship with the child without PR, though. If he turns out to be a caring, responsible father, he can apply for PR.

theUrbanDryad Wed 05-Sep-07 15:56:07

thanks for all your replies. i agree with those who say that her ex can have a relationship with the child (which is what she wanted all along!) without necessarily having PR. he is an arse, and he doesn't seem particularly interested in maintaining a relationship with any of them (which has totally gutted the two older dc's) but she is determined to give him the option. what she doesn't want to give him is control over her (and by extension her older dc's) life. she's already decided she doesn't want him present at the birth (not that he's asked to be) and he hasn't seen any of the scan pics or even phoned her for the past couple of days. how can he not care?

sorry - needed to get it off my chest. he makes me so angry.

Surfermum Wed 05-Sep-07 16:18:48

PR means very little in practice, my dh has it. In theory absent parents should have a say in decisions about health, schooling and religion, but in practice the parent with care is the one who makes the decisions and the absent parent has to actively seek to prevent that happening by going for a Court Order. They would really have to prove that the decision being made isn't in the child's best interests to have a decision overturned. I don't know how often this ever happens (maybe one of the family law bods know) but I would have thought it quite rare.

It's been useful for dh to be able to contact dsd's school and get information from them, and to be able to deal with medical stuff when it arises, but as for being involved in things like choosing religion or schools it's been pretty meaningless, and whenever he's tried to get involved he's been pushed away and his x has carried on making decisions without reference to him.

lifesrichpagaent1 Fri 21-Sep-07 17:52:11

Hi, I haven't been on this site for ages and just popped on to see if there was any info about me being able to move in the country without letting my ex know until i'd moved. Anyone know? The reason being he has made my life hell with his so called PR. He has no responsibility, pays nothing, in fact contributes nothing to me & my son but strife and I'm now having to move to get away from him. All emotional stuff, like prying into my job, nursery, doctors, any chance of a boyfriend etc If I were your friend I would not give PR, leave it to him to apply because you end up being controlled and Courts don't care how you are treated. I've had to fork out £3000 in last year because he keeps taking me to court. He doesn't work and gets ALL his legal advise including Barristers who make mincemeat out of my solicitor for FREE. There is absolutely no incentive for him to let me get on with my life! Giving him PR was the WORSE decision of my life. If you don't give PR it doesn't mean he can't see child, but you are more in control especially if you don't know how he is going to be with you. That's my advice! Anyone know if you can take ex off birth certificate?

olsmum Fri 21-Sep-07 23:05:34

its not about the relationship he has with your friend and her other children though is it? he has every right to establish a relationship with HIS soon to born child, if he doesnt get on with the mother or want to maintain contact with her other children surely that is his right. dont get me wrong, if he turns out to be totally irresponsible and a let down fair enough but she can not just turn round and refuse all his rights just because he might let baby down, better she finds out while baby is young and doesn't understand. my daughter is nearly 4 and im going through a similar situation (xp also a total arse!)

Tinkerbel5 Sat 22-Sep-07 08:45:25

lrp1 if your ex has PR then he can have a say in your move, although if he is an ass then I dont think he can do anything about it if you just upped sticks, you cant take his name off the birth certificate.

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