Saturday, September 20, 2008

How Visitation Rights Work For Fathers

As a father you want to stay in close touch with your children, even after you and your partner have separated. Obviously, the best and simplest way to do this is an agreement between you and your ex, which can be made legally binding by solicitors. This means it doesn’t have to go through the courts, and will work when relations between the pair of you are amicable.

If you have Parental Responsibility, either by being married to the mother when the child was born, being present when the birth was registered and having your name on the birth certificate as the father, or through a Parental Responsibility Agreement or Parental Responsibility Order, you have rights and responsibilities to your children.

Obviously, part of that is support in financial terms, but also in emotional and legal terms, too. In return, you have contact with your children. Family courts have a principle called “presumption of contact,” under which they have to do everything possible for fathers to see their children.

Contact Orders

Very often, court-issued contact orders prove unnecessary, since arrangements will have been worked out privately or in mediation between the two parents. However, even where a Contact Order is issued, often the parents are allowed to work out the details for themselves. Before any Contact Order is issued, however, the court must take several things into consideration:

* What the child wishes, if he or she is old enough to make any kind of decision.
* The educational and emotional needs of the child.
* Whether there’s any risk of harm to the child.
* Whether you’re capable of meeting the child’s needs during contact.

These might seem possibly weighted against you, but the sole intent is for the welfare of the child. In the vast majority of cases – well over 90% - Contact Orders are granted. If it’s come to a hearing, one important factor will be the report by the CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) officer. Both parents, as well as other carers and teachers, will have been interviewed, and in most cases the court accepts the report as it stands (although you can challenge part of it or even ask for a new report from a different officer if you disagree).

Residence Order

A Residence Order determines who the children should live with – if none has been issued, then they’ll stay with their mother. You can apply for a Residence Order to have full custody of your children, but realistically speaking, unless there are pressing reasons they should not stay with their mother, it’s unlikely your request will be granted.

Things Not To Do

When you have contact with the children, you should not attempt to take them out of the country without written permission from their mother. Even if it’s for a holiday, this needs to be discussed and permission in writing given.

Whilst you have the children, don’t say negative things about your ex-partner. It creates confusion and a bad atmosphere for the children. You have more positive things to concentrate on during your time with them, anyway.


fathers helphotline said...

Hi There,
You have beautifully explained Visitation Rights For Fathers. It is too good and informative.

Thanks to Share

Anonymous said...

I have a question to make. I have been separated from my ex husband for almost a year not but no legal separation done nor filed. My daughter is with my parents as i am currently in Dubai to work and I have been solely supporting all her needs and my ex husband never gave even a single cent for my daughter. He has been asking if he can borrow my 4 yr old daughter and take to his home since its already summer break from school.We agreed in DSWD that he cannot take her out but he can visit in our house anytime he wishes as I am scared that he might not return her to my parents . He is claiming that the custody of my daughter should be on him as I am not in Phils and he is there hence she should live with him. Do you think he is correct?

Thank you!

Unknown said...

I am 28yrs old and a single mom. My ex partner, the father of my child wants to have and practice his visitation rights but my mother, the grandmother of my daughter doesnt allow him to. I just want to know, does grand parents have the rights to decide for the child even if the monther has the sole custody and the only one who can decide for the kid.

Thank you