As a parent of children living in the UK, you are entitled to have an opinion about how you raise your children and how often you see them. If there are certain cases that cannot be agreed upon, even with the help of mediation, legal firms can help you apply to the family court for a court order.†
Family structures can be seriously complex, and there aren’t always biological parents in certain cases. In fact, some children may be closer to their non-biological parents than their biological parents, and they may never have met their biological parents. A dedicated child care division dedicated to ensuring each of these individuals receives the advice and support they need to ensure their interests are represented fairly.
Legal translation companies like Future Trans for Arabic translation Services, have a dedicated child care division ensuring each of these individuals receives the advice and support they need to ensure their interests are represented fairly. So today, we take a look at the difference between biological and legal parents and highlight their respective rights and responsibilities.
The rights of a legal father versus a biological father
The male parent of a child is known as their father. A man can become a father either as a result of the pregnancy of a woman (biological father) or by acquiring parental responsibility (the legitimate father).
The biological father of a child is the person who inherited the childís genetic material, either as a result of a natural pregnancy or a sperm donation.
The biological father of the child is not automatically considered the legal father nor does it automatically assume parental responsibility.
Biological parents are parental responsibility if:
- If they are married to the mother of the child at the time of the birth of the child or marry the mother of the child after birth.
- They are registered as the father of the child on the birth certificate if the registration was made after December 1, 2003.
- Both the mother and the father have signed an authorized agreement giving the father parental responsibility.
- The court gives them parental responsibility.
- More than two people can take parental responsibility for the child.
Courts strongly favor legitimacy over a biological relationship, and will not usually interfere with the assumption of paternity by the stepfather over the child born in a healthy marriage.
In fact, hospitals rarely allow a mother to include anyone other than her husband on a birth certificate, again due to the legality preference.
Thus, if the biological father wants to challenge the rights of the legal father, he will face an uphill battle and he will need to show very compelling evidence that the best interests of the child will be better served by granting him legal father status.
This will not be easy, as the courts are reluctant to dismantle the entrenched families. As a result, the longer the biological father waits for a lawsuit for custody rights, the more likely the court will reject the claim.
Once a child has strong bonds with a parent, courts will only boycott that relationship if it endangers the child’s health and well-being in one way or another.
Moreover, if the biological father waits for the legal father to request a divorce from the mother, the outcome is likely to be the same.†
Courts do not want to take a child away from a single parent who knows him as biology and will look at the intent and quality of the parent-child relationship to find out which arrangement would best support the child’s needs and interests.
When can a non-biological father have parental rights for a child?
A non-biological father is a parent who is not related to a child by blood. Although not biologically related to the child, a non-biological parent can still obtain legal parental status by formally adopting the child.
This is because proper adoption enables the non-biological parent to gain full legal and physical custody of the child.
In some cases, the non-biological father can ask the family court to grant him parental rights over the child, for example when he has acted as the father of the child from birth or if the stepfather has a strong emotional relationship with the child.
If the non-biological father is granted full parental rights over the child, he will have a say in matters of child custody and visitation of the child, how to raise the child (for example, educational, spiritual and medical), and enter into legal matters agreements on the child’s behalf.
What rights do fathers have?
The biological father of the child does not have any legal rights towards him unless he has parental responsibility. However, parental responsibility does not affect the parents’ duty to care for their child financially.
All parents have a duty to pay for raising their children, whether or not they are the parents.
A father who bears parental responsibility for the child has the right to make decisions about their care and upbringing, and important decisions regarding the child must be agreed upon by all those responsible for the parents.
A mother can make a decision of little importance, but to make bigger changes, everyone.
If an agreement cannot be reached, by applying for a court order.
When paternity is a problem, the court can direct the use of scientific tests to prove it
If you think you need to ask the court to rule on your paternity issue, you should seek further advice from a member of our team of experienced and sensitive childcare attorneys.†
Can a Biological Father Terminate a Non-Biological Fatherís Parental Rights?
Terminating parental rights is exceedingly difficult. This is especially true in situations where a biological father has shown no interest in raising or caring for the child in the past.
If a biological father wishes to terminate a non-biological fatherís parental rights, they must file a paternity claim in family court.†
If the court agrees to hear the case, the biological father may present arguments and evidence, such as paternity or DNA tests, that support why their request should be granted.
However, just because a father can prove they are the childís biological parent, does not mean the court will terminate a non-biological fatherís parental rights.
For instance, if it would be against the best interests of the child or if the non-biological father was more of a parental figure than the actual father, then the court may decide to allow the non-biological father to preserve their legal parental status.†
If the father is not on the birth certificate, what rights does he have?
A father whose name is not mentioned on the child’s birth certificate may still have different rights.
For example, if they are appointed as a child’s guardian or are legally adopted or cared for, or become a de facto parent, they may enjoy many of the same rights as a person with legal parental status.
Other factors that can affect the types of parental rights a father has even if they are not listed on the child’s birth certificate, the emotional bond they have with the child, whether they have helped raise the child, how invested they are in the child’s life, and whether they take Decisions on behalf of the child.
If the father can prove any of the above, then they may have normative parental rights (for example, visitation rights, legal custody, etc.).
If they can’t prove some of the factors mentioned above, but want parental rights, they can take a DNA test to challenge the paternity of the person listed on the child’s birth certificate.
It should be noted, however, that courts give more importance to the name on the birth certificate than to DNA test results.
Parents who are unable to prove any of these scenarios may not have any rights on the child until they make a successful appeal in court. Even so, the court may still rule that they do not have the rights of the child.
What does the court take into account when granting parental rights?
Before the court makes a final ruling on issues related to parental rights, it must apply the child’s best interest criterion to the facts first.
Basically, the child’s best interest criterion means that the court will need to make decisions based on what appears to be the best or most appropriate to the needs of a particular child.
The court does this by examining a number of factors, including:
- The age of the child or children.
- The child’s desires (if the court determines that he is old enough).
The legal father of the child is:
- The mother’s or partner’s spouse registered at the time of the child’s birth, unless the paternity of the child is denied.
- A man who admits or adopts a child.
- The man who was declared the father of the child by the court.
- As a parent, it is important that you understand the legal rights you have to raise and maintain custody of your child.
- Thus, if you need assistance with a child custody or parental rights issue, it may be in your best interest to speak to a local child custody lawyer immediately for further guidance.