In this article, we’ll discuss what the law says regarding father’s rights and answer the question, how often can a father see his child.
The question ‘how often can a father see his child’ presumes that fathers – and mothers – have a right to see their children.
In fact, when looking at how often a father can see his child, it’s more appropriate to speak of ‘responsibilities’, rather than ‘rights’.
The law says that parents have responsibilities towards their children. If you have parental responsibility (more on this later), you are responsible for meeting your child’s needs. This includes providing them with a home and protecting them.
Children, on the other hand, are viewed by the law as having a right to have a meaningful relationship with both their father and their mother.
So what does this mean with regards to how often a father can see his child?
Parental responsibility is defined as: “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and the child’s property”.
If you have parental responsibility, you’ll be responsible for making decisions on everything from the medical care your child receives, to where they go to school.
Mothers automatically acquire parental responsibility from the moment a child is born. Whether a father has parental responsibility will depend on the circumstances. Take a look at our blog on parental responsibility to find out more.
However, what parental responsibility does not mean is that you have an automatic right to see and spend time with your child.
A father has just as much right to see and spend time with the child as the mother. The question of how often a father can see his child is relatively straightforward to answer, if separating parents can agree where the child will live and how often the other parent will have contact with the child. Ideally, this family-based arrangement would be possible.
Sometimes, mediation can help parents to reach a solution which suits both parties, if they cannot agree between themselves.
If an agreement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to go to court to apply for a Child Arrangements Order, which details where the child will live and the contact which will take place with the other parent.
The court’s top priority when making its decision about how often a father can see his child, will be what is in the best interests of the child.
Most of the time, it is in the child’s best interests to maintain a relationship with both parents.
How often a father can see his child will, ultimately, depend on what’s best for the child in question.
Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to child access, including:
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