Unmarried Fathers' Legal Rights
An unmarried father has few legal rights with regard to his children unless he has a legally binding Parental Responsibility Agreement or a Parental Responsibility Order. He does have the right to make applications for contact. through the court.
"Married or not, you do not have any rights to your child, you have responsibilities. Your child has the right to grow up with the love and care of both parents. It is your responsibility to protect the rights of your child".
An unmarried father who jointly signs the birth register with the mother from 1st December 2003 has Parental Responsibility. This does not apply to children born before the legislation was passed.
An unmarried father without Parental Responsibility has no right to act on the child's behalf (except in emergency) or to be consulted over which school the child attends, which religion, if any, (s)he is brought up in, what medical treatment (s)he receives, what name (s)he is known by, or whether (s)he is put up for adoption. An unmarried father cannot get a passport for the child or access official documents or school/medical records. He remains liable to pay child maintenance
We advise all unmarried fathers to seek a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother and to apply for a Parental Responsibility Order if she is unwilling to agree.