Do I have rights as an unmarried father?


27 January 2022

By Farhad Islam

When looking at the rights of an unmarried father, the first thing to be aware of is that by law, it is the child who has a right to a relationship with their parents, not the other way around. A parent does not have rights over a child, rather they have parental responsibility. Parental responsibility refers to the roles of a parent in providing for and caring for their child.

Unfortunately, parental responsibility is not automatic for father’s who were either unmarried when the child was born, or are not named on the birth certificate.

Despite the above, any biological father can apply to the courts for parental responsibility of their child and they won’t necessarily be denied this.

Parental responsibility will not, however, enforce a right to contact with a child. As such, if a biological father is still refused contact with their child by their ex-partner, an application for a Child Arrangements Order would need to be made to the court. The court will then make a decision regarding contact based on the rights of the child.

If you would like to discuss anything concerning the above information, contact us to book your initial consultation on 01245 493939 or email

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.