LEGAL EAGLE: Attempts to see my daughter have been ignored by my ex
My ex-girlfriend recently gave birth to my baby daughter a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I have been notified that she has signed the Birth Certificate without me.
I have contacted her several times to try and arrange days when I can go and see my daughter. She has ignored all my requests.
The only pictures I have seen of my daughter are from those that her family have posted on Facebook. I have found this whole situation really upsetting as I want to be involved in my daughter’s life. Please can you advise me on these issues? I want to be in contact with my daughter and I want to know what my position is regarding my name not being on the birth certificate.
It sounds like you are dealing with a very distressing situation. You raise two different issues here; your name not being on the Birth Certificate and Contact.
As you were not present when the Birth Certificate was signed, and you were not married to your ex-girlfriend, you will not have Parental Responsibility. Parental Responsibility provides you with additional legal rights to make important decisions around your child’s upbringing, medical treatment, religion, choice of name, etc. It provides you with additional rights in comparison to the rights you would receive for being her biological father. Biological fathers only have certain rights, such as the right to be notified if an Emergency Protection Order was made against your child.
You can acquire Parental Responsibility in three different ways:
1. Re-Registering the Birth Certificate: - You could try and negotiate with your ex-girlfriend to re-register the Birth Certificate.
2. Parental Responsibility Agreement: - You could try and get your ex-girlfriend to sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement. However, if your ex-girlfriend does not want to re-register the Birth Certificate it is unlikely that she would do this.
3. Parental Responsibility Order: - The final option is seeking a Parental Responsibility Order
from the court. This should be used as a last resort as it can be time consuming and emotionally difficult for both parents and the child.
As you are having issues around Contact you may wish to consider trying to negotiate obtaining Parental Responsibility and Contact through a solicitor sending a letter to your ex-girlfriend. A solicitor could advise you on this and prepare this. If this proves unsuccessful you should consider contacting a mediation centre to try and resolve the problem outside of court. This step must be taken before you apply to court unless you are found exempt.
If this proves unsuccessful you may consider applying to the court for a Child Arrangements Order (Contact). The court must consider Parental Responsibility in this application.
When dealing with both Contact and Parental Responsibility the court will principally consider the
1. The Welfare of your daughter; what is in her best interests.
2. Whether your involvement in her life would be in her best interests. It is normally presumed
that parental involvement is in the best interests of the child.
3. The level of commitment and attachment you have with your daughter.
4. Your reasons for applying.
This is not an exhaustive list.
If you require advice around the court procedure or how to draft a letter of negotiation, then please contact a solicitor at our office for independent legal advice. Please call 0191 565 3112 or email [email protected]