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The UK's leading Shared Parenting charity

Read Me First

This page is the best place to start and find out some answers to your initial questions. To use this page click on the 'Q' to reveal the answer 'A'. To clear the answer click again on the yellow 'Q'. If there is something you don’t understand please call the FNF National Office on 0300 0300 110 or the National Helpline 0300 0300 363.

General Enquires

How do I join?

Joining is easy and you can do it by the click of a button. Go to Join Us to find out more.

Anyone can be a member of Families Need Fathers. Our members include fathers, mothers, resident and non-resident parents, grandparents, new partners and friends as well as people who agree with what we do.

What do I get if I am a member of Families Need Fathers?

• Access to the members’ area of the FNF website
    o Download all our factsheets for free
    o Download court forms and read instructions on how to fill them in and make an application to court
    o Download parenting plans
    o Access to workshop videos and much more!
• McKenzie magazine - keeping you up-to-date on all developments in the family law field 
• List of local telephone contacts and referral to panel of members with in-depth knowledge on matters ranging from child maintenance to CAFCASS
• Discounts on publications and books
• Access to our online forum
    o Receive support and advice from other members
    o Share your story and hear from others in similar situations

Members help us to get changes made so that both parents can share the care of their children after they separate.

How can you help me?

Have you separated from your partner or do you think you will? Are you worried about not seeing your children or about the effect the breakdown of your relationship might have on them? If you are, Families Need Fathers can help you with the support and information you need.

We help mothers, fathers, grandparents, new partners and extended families. We are here to help parents and their families go on giving the love, care and support that their children need after separation - and we support parents and families to do this - especially if you are having problems in coming to an agreement on your own.

Support and information is available in a number of ways:

  • National telephone helpline - available from 9am - 10pm Monday to Friday, 10am - 3pm at weekends on 0300 0300 363.
  • Local branch meetings - where you can get face-to-face advice, talk through your situation with others in similar circumstances and be with other people who know how you feel and can give you ideas. (You can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).
  • Factsheets and publications - from dealing with CAFCASS, making decisions about money, getting welfare reports and how to represent yourself in court which means you don’t need to pay for a solicitor.
  • Online forums - where you can 'chat', ask for the advice and experience of other members and get feedback all the time.


There are more things you get if you are a member. To find out more click here.

There are other places where you can get the information, services and help you need. Click here for links to other help and support.

Where is my nearest branch?

We have branches across the country from Newcastle to Exeter, click here to find out where your nearest one is. You can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend.

Can I talk to someone?

You can phone the helpline on 0300 0300 363 (9am - 9pm Monday to Friday, 10am - 3pm at weekends). If you are a member you can also call one of your local contacts.

 

I need help with the law, the courts etc. How do I find this?

the helpline, visit your local branch meeting, post a question on the e-mail forum or go to law and information section on this site.

I don’t understand some of the terms and phrases used. Where can I find out what they mean?

Resident parent – parent that the child lives with most of the time.

Non-resident parent – the parent that the child doesn’t live with most of the time.

Court order – what the judge decides at the court.

Child Arrangements Order – an order made by a judge saying that sets out who the child lives with, when they spend time with the other parent, and so on.

Contact – the time the non-resident parent spends with the child, also called parenting time.

Direct Contact – is when you see your child face-to-face.

Indirect Contact – is talking to your child on the phone or sending them letters.

Contact issues – are problems with contact or parenting time

Interim contact – contact before a decision is being made at the next court hearing.

Mediation – is talking to the other parent with someone else there to help you make decisions, and not always in the same room.

Parental responsibility - a legal definition, and means you are able to make decisions about your child and get information about them from schools and doctors.

Shared Parenting – means both parents look after the child for some of the time.

Cafcass- Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service

Hearing – going to court so that a judge can make a decision.

First directions hearing – the first time you go to the court.

Interim hearing – when you go to the court, not for the first time, but before a judge makes a final decision. This might be while the judge is waiting for a Cafcass officer to write a report.

Final hearing – is the last time you go to court. The judge will make a decision about you and your child.

Cafcass or Section 7 report – the judge can order a report about you and the other parent before he makes a decision.

 

 

Contact/Parenting Time

I have just broken up with my partner and I am worried about not seeing my children. What can I do so I don’t stop seeing them?

Families Need Fathers can help you. We can give you general information about seeing your children (these are called contact issues) or help you with your own situation.

 

There are three different ways we can provide you with help:

The best way to receive help from us is to become a member. Then you can get help in different ways including factsheets, information books and our internet forums, where you can 'chat', ask for the advice and experience of other members and get feedback all the time.

Another way to get help and support is our helpline on 0300 0300 363 (7am-midnight, 7 days a week).

 

Or if you go to a local branch meeting you can receive face-to-face advice from local members. Go to http://www.fnf.org.uk/help-and-support/local-branch-meetings to find the closest one to you.

My children don’t have any contact with me, what can I do?

You have come to the right place; FNF can give you help and support. The best way to get help from us is to:

Join and become a member.

Or phone our helpline.

Or go along to your local branch meeting (you can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).

We may also have information that will help you in our factsheets. These are free to download if you are a member.

 

I have been stopped from seeing my children, can you help?

Unfortunately the parent that the children are living with can sometimes stop the other parent from seeing their own children. You can get help from us.

Join and become a member.

Or phone our helpline.

Or go along to your local branch meeting (you can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).

We also may have information that will help you in our factsheets. These are free to download if you are a member.

 

My children need to see me, what can I do?

You have come to the right place; FNF can give you help and support. The best way to get help from us is to:

Join and become a member.

Or phone our helpline.

Or go to your local branch meeting (you can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).

We also may have information to help you in our factsheets. These are free to download if you are a member.

Is anyone allowed to stop my children from seeing me?

Only a court can officially stop you from seeing your children. If anyone else tries to stop you, you can do something about it. Please call our helpline on 0300 0300 363 (7am-midnight, 7 days a week) to get support over the phone.

I am a grandparent and I have not seen my grandchild since their parents broke up. What can I do?

You can get help and support from us by:

Join and become a member. (You can get help for your son or daughter from us.)

Or phone our helpline.

Or go to your local branch meeting (you can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).

We also may have information to help you in our factsheets. These are free to download if you are a member.

 

 

 

Legal Issues

Do I have a responsibility to see my children?

Yes your children need you to be part of their life. Please read our parental responsibility factsheet: http://www.fnf.org.uk/publications-and-policy/factsheets-and-guides

You can also find out more by:

By becoming a member, phoning our helpline or by going to your local branch meeting (you can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).

We also may have information to help you in our factsheets. These are free to download if you are a member.

 

Do I have any legal rights as a father?

Do you have Parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility is a legal label tying a parent to their child. For more information please download our factsheet at: http://www.fnf.org.uk/publications-and-policy/factsheets-and-guides

Go to http://www.fnf.org.uk/law-and-information/parental-responsibility for more information.

Or phone our helpline and speak to someone.

 

What is Parental Responsibility?

Parental responsibility is a legal label tying a parent to their child. For more information please download our factsheet at: http://www.fnf.org.uk/publications-and-policy/factsheets-and-guides

Go to http://www.fnf.org.uk/law-and-information/parental-responsibility for more information.

Or phone our helpline to speak to someone.

 

Do my children have any legal rights to see me?

Yes they do. Children have the right to see both their parents if it is safe.

Most important is Section 9 of the UN Convention on Rights of the Child:

"Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best interests."

 

 

 

What can I do to see my children?

There are different ways of getting to see your child:

- Mediation. This means talking to someone with or without the other parent there, who will try to help you both sort out the problems. 

- A family member or friend could help you talk about problems. You don’t have to be in the same room if it is difficult.

- Contact Relate and see if they can help you.

- Collaborative law is a good idea for some people. This means using solicitors to help you sort out your problems without going to court.

- Try to talk to your ex partner if you can. Or try writing a letter. Suggest what you can do together to help your children. You can get help to write letters from our forum http://www.fnf.org.uk/help-and-support/fnf-online-forum. Solicitors and going to court can cost a lot of money.

I feel like I’ve tried everything. Do I have to go to court so I can see my children?

It’s always best not to go to court, but if you have tried everything to sort out the problems then you may have to go to court. Contact our helpline or go to a localto discuss this.

I can’t afford to go to court again to see my children, what can I do?


You don’t have to have a solicitor. You can go to court on your own. FNF can give you a lot of help if you decide to do this. To find out more information click here.

You can apply to have the court fees rebated, using form EX160 available from the court or from here.

If you need more help, phone our helpline

 

 

 

Shared Parenting

What is Shared Parenting?

Shared Parenting means both parents look after their children and make decisions about them even when they don’t live together. The children don’t have to be with both parents for the same amount of time. Please see our guide to shared parenting.

 

 

 

Child Maintenance and Money Problems

I am having problems with child maintenance; what can I do?

Go to one of our branch meetings to talk to other parents who may be able to help you. Or you can also call the helpline.

You can also get advice from NACSA who help people in this area.

CM Options give information on the maintenance options available to parents.

How do I provide for my children?

The money you pay for your child (child support) can be agreed with the other parent.

It is worth contacting CM Options if you have any questions about how to provide child support.

What is child maintenance?

Child maintenance is what one parent pays the other parent who looks after the child most of the time.

The definition from CM Options:

“Child maintenance is regular, reliable financial support that helps towards a child's everyday living costs. The parent without the main day-to-day care of the child pays child maintenance to the other parent.”

http://www.cmoptions.org/en/maintenance/index.asp

I am separating. When can I sort out what I need to pay for my child (child maintenance)?

Go to a branch meeting to talk to other FNF members who may be able to help you, you can also call the helpline.

See the CM Options website for more information:

When do I stop paying for my child? How long do I have to pay child maintenance?

Usually until the children are aged 16, or 19 if they go on to further education (e.g. A-levels). However ask CM Options about your child.

My children live with me half the time. Can I get any benefits?

This doesn’t often happen. Look on directgov and see if you will be able to get anything.

 

 

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  • Climb up to Responsible Shared Parenting! One of our Members and some friends have come forward (again) to support FNF. They are walking up one of North Africa's highest peaks. Samir Ghailan, is organising an effort to raise much needed funds for our charity so that we can continue to provide the support we do. Please see the JustGiving link that Sam has provided below for more details and I hope that some of you will be able to make donations. Good luck Sam! www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kentfathers-part2

    samir is raising money to help Families Need Fathers
    justgiving.comsamir is raising money to help Families Need Fathers

    2016-09-21T22:43:07+0000
  • Families Need Fathers updated their cover photo.
    2016-09-11T00:08:19+0000
  • An hour-long hard-hitting discussion, bringing together diverse yet convergent voices. Sarah Carey (NewsTalk) engages fully with shared parenting and surrounding issues – some specifically Irish and constitutional but almost all very relevant to us all. http://www.newstalk.com/listen_back/16/30189/10th_September_2016_-_Talking_Point_Part_1/ Some striking points made – including the notion that the parenting debate has been recast as a competition to be the best mother and separately, a suggestion that fatherhood has been taken over by the state!

    Sarah Carey takes an in-depth look at the main stories of the week. Every Saturday from 9-10am
    newstalk.comSarah Carey takes an in-depth look at the main stories of the week. Every Saturday from 9-10am

    2016-09-11T00:04:11+0000
  • A big thank you to everyone who responded to our recent survey on FNF services and priorities. We will publish more details of your responses separately, but it is clear that the four issues that rank the highest (first choices) in the concerns of the 441 of you who participated are: • Parental alienation 23.7% • False allegations 21.2% • Enforcement of contact orders 18.9% • Shared parenting 17.0% We are addressing these issues with CAFCASS and the Judiciary and will also seek your support separately in contacting relevant politicians. FNF CHILD MAINTENANCE SURVEY Meanwhile, the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee has launched a public inquiry into child maintenance and the workings of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). The role of the select committee is to hold the government to account. FNF will submit a formal response at the end of this month to assist them. Please help us by answering the survey we have put together that will enrich our response. To start the survey please use this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FNF_CMS_2016 Your answers will also assist us in addressing the areas you identified as of particular importance. WOULD YOU LIKE TO PROVIDE INDIVIDUAL FEEDBACK TO THE SELECT COMMITTEE? Once you have completed this survey, you may also wish to contribute directly to this inquiry by the Work and Pensions Select Committee in your own right. For details see Child Maintenance Service inquiry page on: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/child-maintenance-16-17/ The Select Committee is likely to be pleased to receive responses from individuals as well as from representative bodies such as FNF.

    Web survey powered by SurveyMonkey.com. Create your own online survey now with SurveyMonkey's expert certified FREE templates.
    surveymonkey.co.ukWeb survey powered by SurveyMonkey.com. Create your own online survey now with SurveyMonkey's expert certified FREE templates.

    2016-09-10T23:31:50+0000
  • Announcing what promises to be a significant event in the international pursuit of contemporary shared parenting. FNF have been associated with ICSP since their launch a couple of years ago and we feel their conferences are well worth attending: National Parents Organization (NPO) and the International Council on Shared Parenting (ICSP) are proud to announce that they will jointly organize the “International Conference on Shared Parenting 2017”, sponsored by NPO, on May 29-31, 2017 in Boston, MA, USA. Please save the date for this outstanding conference, which will be held at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston. Internationally recognized representatives of shared parenting research, including • Malin Bergstrom (Sweden), • Sanford Braver (USA), • William Fabricius (USA), • Edward Kruk (Canada), • Michael Lamb (UK), • Linda Nielsen (USA), • Patrick Parkinson (Australia) and • Richard Warshak (USA) The above have already committed to presenting their research findings concerning shared parenting at this conference. In addition, there will be break-out sessions for those who seek answers from experienced family law attorneys on common family law problems. To receive updates on this conference as further details emerge, please register at the temporary conference website: NPO-ICSP2017.org. Registering is free and implies no commitment – it simply means that you will be kept informed of new developments. Further information: http://twohomes.org/en_boston_2017 https://nationalparentsorganization.org/images/2017InternationalConferenceonSharedParenting.pdf Best regards, Angela Hoffmeyer Secretary General International Council on Shared Parenting (ICSP) Stiftsgasse 6, 53111 Bonn, Germany Phone: +49-170-800 46 15 E-mail: angela.hoffmeyer@twohomes.org Website: www.twohomes.org

    International Conference on Shared Parenting 2017 First Announcement / Press Release Boston / Bonn, August 22, 2016 National Parents Organization (NPO) and the International Council on Shared Parenting (ICSP) are proud to announce that they will jointly organize the “International Conference on Shar...
    twohomes.orgInternational Conference on Shared Parenting 2017 First Announcement / Press Release Boston / Bonn, August 22, 2016 National Parents Organization (NPO) and the International Council on Shared Parenting (ICSP) are proud to announce that they will jointly organize the “International Conference on Shar...

    2016-08-26T16:01:37+0000
  • We've noted a few strong responses to Philip Davies' talk - generally offering rather anecdotal evidence that his statistics are untrue. Here are some public statistics from the government Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) entitled Women as victims of crime. The 2011/12 data show differences in the level and types of victimisation between females and males. Key findings include: The 2011/12 CSEW estimated three in every 100 adults were a victim of violent crime. As in previous years, a smaller proportion of women than men interviewed reported being victims of violence (2% versus 4% in the 2011/12 CSEW). The 2011/12 CSEW self-completion module on intimate violence showed that a greater proportion of women (7%) reported being victims of intimate violence than men (5%). Findings from the child component of the 2011/12 CSEW showed that, in the 12 months prior to interview, a smaller proportion of girls (aged 10 to 15) reported being victims of violence than boys (5% per cent versus 11%). Data from the Homicide Index showed that fewer females (201) than males (435) were victims of homicide in 2010/11. As in the previous four years, a greater proportion of female than male victims knew the principal suspect (78% and 57% respectively in 2010/11). https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/women-and-the-criminal-justice-system--2 2013 figures are also available from gov.uk covering related areas and showing a shift of emphasis: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/women-and-the-criminal-justice-system-2013

    Official Statistics Women and the criminal justice system From: Ministry of Justice First published: 22 November 2012 Part of: Women and the criminal justice system and Criminal justice statistics Biennial statistics on the representation of females and males as victims, suspects, offenders and empl...
    gov.ukOfficial Statistics Women and the criminal justice system From: Ministry of Justice First published: 22 November 2012 Part of: Women and the criminal justice system and Criminal justice statistics Biennial statistics on the representation of females and males as victims, suspects, offenders and empl...

    2016-08-16T17:20:42+0000

FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

Families Need Fathers work with a range of family law professionals, including Family Law Panel

 

Upcoming Events

26/09/2016 Mon: London Central Meeting
27/09/2016 Tue: Harrow Branch Meetings
28/09/2016 Wed: Cambride Meeting
28/09/2016 Wed: Burton On Trent Meeting
29/09/2016 Thu: Exeter Meeting
1/10/2016 Sat: Harrow Branch Meetings
3/10/2016 Mon: London Central Solicitor Clinic
3/10/2016 Mon: Oxford Meeting (check day with branch)
3/10/2016 Mon: Edinburgh Meeting
3/10/2016 Mon: Reading Meeting
4/10/2016 Tue: Newcastle Meeting
4/10/2016 Tue: Leeds Central Meeting