Areas of Law / Divorce and Family

My friend’s son has decided to leave his girlfriend because of her violent mood swings. But she tells him that he has no rights to see his child because they weren’t legally married – even though his name is on the child’s birth register. Is this true?

No. Unmarried fathers automatically acquire parental rights as long as he’s named on the child’s birth certificate. However your friend’s son will still have to either agree arrangements with his girlfriend by drawing up a parenting plan or through mediation. Failing that he can apply for a court order permitting contact or residence. Generally the court looking at such applications will consider first and foremost what is in the child’s best interests. If he’s separating from an abusive partner he may be entitled to legal aid.

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