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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35087
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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fathers rights to custody

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Hi There, I have an in depth question here and would like to find out what my rights are. My ex partner and I have been together for over 7 years, never married but lived together for roughly 3 years then we split, she moved out and not long after we got back together but did not move back into the family home. We have one child between us who is now 5 and she has another boy who is now 11. Her little boy has always been a very difficult child to handle and I believe is on the ADHD spectrum and has often been the cause the family arguments and strain. Since Jan this year we have had a very strained relationship due to stress and life pressures but about 8 weeks ago i found out that she was seeing another guy and we split which i have come to terms with and letting her get on with things as she wants. At the moment my daughter lives with my ex at her parents house and i have access near enough when ever i like which is great and im very appreciative about it. At the moment though my main concern is my daughters safety and what rights I have in terms of keeping her with me full time but still allowing access to my ex near enough when she wants within reason of course. The reason for my concern are: I have had her with me for the last 5 weeks and her mom has made very little effort to make contact via text, no phone calls and has only come to see her for an hour last week even though i have been asking her to come down and visit without me being present but nothing comes of it. My ex is still living at home with mom and dad but has been staying at her sisters since the beginning of the school holidays but only been home twice to see the rest of the family which is really out of character for her. Over the last week she has been staying at the new guys house with her son and has not been making any contact with the family even though they have been begging her to come home as it has been recently discovered and confirmed that the new guy has been convicted in a murder case about 15 years ago and my ex's sister believes there are drugs involved but i do not have any proof of this but it would explain the character change. I am really not sure what rights I have but I do not want my daughter to involved in what my ex is doing at the moment. Usually she is a very level headed girl and mostly puts her kids first but she has been acting extremely strange recently.

Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Which part of the Uk are you in and can you get the child to school fro your home?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am in the south and yes I can get her to school and provide care for her in the afternoon while I'm at work.

Just so that I am clear.
When you first split up your ex took the child with her to live with her parents, that was eight weeks ago.
However after three weeks the child came to live with you and has done for the last five weeks having little contact with mum - by your ex's choice.
Is that basically correct?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We first split when my daughter was a year old, and they went to live with my ex at her perants house with both kids and have done since. Approx 4 years now.

We got back together about 5 months later after she moved out and have been going like that since but still living separately.

Relationship has been strained since Jan this year..

My daughter has been living with me for the last 5 weeks with little contact from her mom even though I have been inviting her to come see our daughter. I'm concerned that she has abandoned her.

What contact have you had with your daughter whilst you were together but living apart?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We have been in regular contact, most weekends she would be with me and I would visit her every Thursday then take her back to her mom's.

May I check - you are named on the Birth Certificate
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Im am named on the birth certificate but we did not get married which i know limits my rights.

In fact it does not limit them at all.
You have Parental Responsibility for your daughter just as her mother does and the right to be consulted about all major issues in the child's life including education and health issues.
It also means that the mother has no right to remove the child from your care unless you agree or she obtains a Court Order stating that the child lives with you.
As a starting point you should try and discuss matters with your ex using Family Mediation (
If she refuses, or you are worried about your daughter's welfare you can make an Urgent application for a Child Arrangement Order stating that the child lives with you
You can read more about such applications here
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I'm sorry but I do not fully understand this section of you answer

"It also means that the mother has no right to remove the child from your care unless you agree or she obtains a Court Order stating that the child lives with you."

Could you please elaborate?

My daughter was living with her mom full-time and has only been in my care for the last 5 weeks, is that long enough for me to be regarded as the resident perant?

I am still concerned that my ex can still legally pitch up out of the blue and take my daughter away from me.

My apologies for the typing error.
That shoudl read
"unless she obtains a court order stating that the child lives with HER"
In fact she cannot remove the child from YOUR personal care unless you agree.
However she remains entitled to take the child form school etc
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare,

That's ok, I got slightly confused.

I have plans to speak to the head mistress at the school to advise them if what's been happening and to also request that they do not allow my ex to remove my daughter from school.

Am I allowed to do that?

I am afraid the school cannot prevent either of you from taking the child from school as you both have Parental Responsibility - unless there is a Court Order stating that the child lives with you
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Clare for all of the information you have given me, it's given me food for thought and the need to seek formal advice.