Advice for Unmarried Fathers

Few unmarried father's realise that when their new bundle of joy is born that they have no rights to stay in the life of that child. For example an unmarried father is not able to inspect medical records, or obtain details of school progress of their children. These rights completely depend on the goodwill of the mother. To obtain equal rights as mothers is a very simple procedure called a Parental Responsibility Agreement and usually involves a short visit to a local family court. Fathers are advised to do this soon after the child is born.

To obtain a Parental Responsibility Agreement:

Obtain the agreement of the mother
If this is difficult then explain to the mother that it allows you to look after the children if the mother is not well. For example in one case where a mother went in to hospital the unmarried father was refused permission to take his own children back home and the children were threatened with being taken into care until the mother recovered. Imagine how stressing this could be for the children if the family were involved in a minor car accident and the mother had to be taken off for treatment. In a stroke the children could loose both parents, imagine how distressed the children would be.

Make an apointment with the local Family Court
The local magistrates court will help if you telephone and you should explain that you need to obtain a Parental Responsibility Agreement. Check the ammount of the fee which will need to be paid to the court.

Visiting the Family Court
Make sure you both bring some form of identification such as a passport. Your should also bring the childs Birth Certificate. There is a small fee check. The procedure usually takes about 15 minutes and involves Mother, Father, a Justice of the Peace, and a witness filling in the sections as described:

Child's Details:
Full Name
Sex
Date of Birth
Date of 18th birthday

Mother's Details:
Full Name
Address

Father's Details:
Full Name
Address

Signature of Mother
Date of signature
Details of identification (e.g. passport number)
Signature of witness(e.g. the JP)
Address of court
Name of witness (e.g. the JP)

Signature of Father
Date of signature
Details of identification (e.g. passport number)
Signature of witness(e.g. the JP)
Address of court
Name of witness (e.g. the JP)

After a few days the form will be sent to you. You can order extra copies if you need them.

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