Divorced dads can be faced with a whole series of issues to establish their right to be known as – and to act as – the father of their children. Establishing their paternity and dealing with their ex’s attempts to change the name of their child are just two of the hurdles that some divorced dads have to cope with.
But other dads have been there before, which means that pretty much all the battles that you may have to fight have been fought before. So there are legal precedents set up which protect the rights of the child and the rights of the father. It may be difficult to fight for those rights, but they do exist in law. You just need to remember that getting justice can be a long and expensive exercise.
WHO’S THE DADDY?
If your name appears on your child’s birth certificate, then many of your rights are protected by law. Although as you will discover, having a legal right does not necessarily mean that it will be automatically be respected. Fathers’ rights are not always respected by mums; sometimes circumstances are against you.
There is whole set of problems for fathers whose relationships end before the kids are born. It may be that your name is not entered on the birth certificate. You must try to get your name on it – your fundamental legal rights are affected by this one action. Without your name on the certificate you may find it much more difficult to get access and parental rights with your child. If you want to have a positive impact on your child’s life you need to get your name on the birth certificate, or on a declaration of paternity (under the Family Law Act 1991).