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Remove the Parental Responsibilities of a voluntarily absent parent

14 Comments 14th January 2016

If a parent, male or female, voluntarily makes themselves absent, is not involved in the upbringing of a child whatsoever, and pays no child support, then their Parental Responsibilities (and rights) should be removed.

I suggest this as the parent of a 7 year old whose "father" is registered on her birth certificate (entitling him to parental responsibilities) and yet he has not seen her since she was 6 months old, through his own choice. 18 months ago he resigned a very well paid job, sold his house. stopped paying maintenance, and went "travelling". He now resides abroad, working for a foreign company which means I cannot claim any child maintenance from him. I have no idea where he lives,only a vague idea of the country, and I cannot contact him.

However, I must ask his permission to take my child abroad or to change her last name if I remarry. He has the right to view her medical and school records. School have informed me that he has the right to come and take her out of school if he wants to, they couldn't stop him. If I want to move abroad, I can't – because he needs to consent. This is ridiculous.

Why does this matter?

Thousands of parents are beholden to absent parents who have “rights”. The rights of the parent doing all of the work and taking 100% of the responsibility are being ignored. It cannot be fair to my child that a complete stranger has the right to take her out of school. Please support my suggestion.


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14 Responses to Remove the Parental Responsibilities of a voluntarily absent parent

  1. Angel says:

    Very good idea!! I am facing difficulties with an absent father who made it his choice not to pay or have contact. Yet I have to begin court proceedings just to take my kid on holiday abroad, it’s ridiculous

  2. Iamawindsurfer says:

    I didnt think this was enforceable after a reasonable length of absence. However the UK is a bit peculiar until children reach the age of reason, and this depends on the indivicual. In France, after one year of non communication from parent, they don’t have any say left. The law here is very jumpy about it all, and not necessarily helpful in my experience.

  3. salma says:

    I totally agree. Absent parents should not be allowed to shove their views on a parent, and have so much power over our lives in this way. We are the ones that are doing the parenting, paying all the bills on our own. Why the hell, should an absent parent be given any rights? I think Ill start telling whom ever wants to know, that im a widow so im the only one with Parental responsibility.

  4. Curtis Boughton says:

    Great idea in my opinion, I am in the British Army and have been for over 5 years. I got married to my wife last year in May and have been together for 3 and a half years, she has a daughter from a previous relationship but the “father” hasn’t seen her since her first birthday over 6 years ago, I have been a part of my step-daughters life since she was three and has called me dad for over 2 years, I also have 2 children with my wife and I love them all as my own, I have been offered a posting in Germany but this rubbish that he still has a say on whether or not she can go is ridiculous and is a nightmare for us, he should have no say in this and we should be able to live our lives being the happy family that we are.

  5. Lilz says:

    Maybe you guys should Start a petition and send it in to the house of commons! I too am in the same boat, stuck here in the UK because my ex won’t let us immigrate even though he doesn’t see the children and is classed as a high risk to them

  6. Edna Nadji says:

    Hi! I totally agree on that! I’m in the same circumstances. My ex husband was always an absent father even at the time we are married. I have 2 boys age 8 and 12 from this relationship and I live in Scotland and he lives in Angola he disappear from 2 years the boys don’t know him don’t trust him and they don’t have feelings from the biological father. I remarried and they adopted my husband as their own dad and they would love to have my husband surname. Now that my kids are emotional stable and feel secure my ex husband decided to show up to claim all is rights as a father and stop paying the maintenance. Apart of that he really decided to step in on my family life using the power he has to disturb us and make wrong decisions about my kids when he really even know what the kids have for breakfast….

    • natalie says:

      I’m in the same boat my wee boy calls my new partner dad he was given pr by court in December but a want to legally change name a just want his real dad out or life’s for good I hate that he has a hold on me I live in Scotland have my lawyer on Thurs she said very hard to remove pr but I’m going to apply for legal aid give it a bash it’s affecting my mental health now my wee boy calls real dad by his name and states he is not his dad x

  7. lel says:

    I think this is a good idea, I would sign the petition, I was in the same situation, married, but the father wasn’t interested in the child, he is more interested in his own life than our sons life. he wouldn’t even answer a call from his son. I believe once that parent is absent he does not wish to play a part, then PR should be relinquished. Their legal rights as a parent should be questioned and the emotional harm they have caused by just not being interested. It is totally unfair to the other parent plus to the child or children involved that an absent parent can come and go as they please or not be interested. Any petition going I will sign. I would be more than happy to also start a petition for this.

  8. Carol says:

    I am seeking others whom have the same view. I am so angry I allowed son father to sign BC as now I am restricted to making decisions or even travelling, but he lives as a single man, travelling and so forth, with no care for his child. Is there a Petition? It seems like such an unfair system.

  9. M says:

    Merlin,

    Your article doesn’the actually make sense. Here’so why:

    You state that the father has not had any involvement with his daugther in around 6.5 years, yet you have made the effort to contact school to ask about his rights. Why? It appears you have some obsession over something that isn’t happening (her being taken out of school, albeit temporarily), and theres no sign of it happening either. You quickly mentioned money. Maintenance. You’re not happy that he’s moved abroad, but you were happy for him to pay for a child that he doesn’t see. Confusing. So he now gets a different life and you’d like to know where he is. Why? You seem very controlling and I’d have done the same if I were him. It’s not a game, where you look at what you can gain, it’s actually about a child, and encouraging contact is of benefit to the child. You need to work out what your grievances actually are.

  10. M says:

    ..and the man is not a “complete stranger” – he is the girl’s biological father – there’s a difference. It doesn’t matter how mu have contact he may or may not have had – he is still her dad.

    We could flip the coin to the other side and see it from his point of view. He cannot take her abroad either, without your permission, but you failed to mention that bit. He has few rights in fact, yet he’s her father. You can’t have everything I’m afraid. The law doesn’t work for you, maybe. But let’s look at those dad’s who are refused access to their children, even with court orders in their hands to enforce this right of access. Do we believe all the mothers all of the time and suggest the fathers “never wanted to know”? No, we don’t, because most mothers, unfortunately, in these situations, believe they should have it all their way.

    So, no, the law should stay as it is, otherwise few dad’s would ever have access to their children, and nearly all dad’s want this access, and for all the right reasons.

    • KIT says:

      In this instance – as with many of us, their desire to have any part in their childs life is clearly not what they are after – this is not a ‘hate dads and strip them of their rights’ campaign this is a ‘significantly absent parents should have their rights automatically removed after years of evidence to show lack of responsibility’ – this could be made for any person with parental responsibility which is in fact the point. If someone has not made any effort to provide financial assistance to CARE for their child, has made no effort to KNOW their child and as such not be a STRANGER then the worry about turning up out of the blue and having immediate legal RIGHTS is not in the best interests of basic well-being for the child. It is as simple as that – you have taken it in a completely irrelevant direction and you must try to see it from the absent parents point of view – they care not enough to communicate, support, or deliver on any responsibility and would happily get on with their own selfish life – not a parental move.

  11. V says:

    I think it’s a good idea. I’m in a situation where I offered the father contact with my child even after he was charged with ABB against me 5 years ago he sent one message basically stating that he couldn’t be bothered. Now my son has known my husband as his dad since he was 6 months old yet my husband has no rights. It’s daunting to know that at any time if the biological father decides to take the child he can. The terrifying effect this will have on my child is a constant worry. I believe that if a parent makes no effort to contact the child for more than 2 years then rights should be taken away. If a effort has been made then they should not. If my son had received even a Christmas card then I would have been happy to tell him all about his biological father.

  12. Katie says:

    I couldn’t agree more. The parent raising the child should not be beholden to an absent parent. It’s not in the child’s best interests. My son’s biological father wanted parental responsibility as a way to empower himself, not because he wanted to take equal care of our son. He has 5 children by 3 women and has never taken equal responsibility for any of his children. My son is booked in for surgery in a couple of weeks but will be delayed if I can’t get consent from his biological father. Given that he refused to consent to me taking our son out of the country to visit my dying father – yes I had to waste a month of my father’s last three gaining consent through the court – I imagine he will spite me again this time. And who suffers – the little boy whose best interests are meant to be protected by the law. Something needs to change. Allow the absent parents to right to see their children, but do not force the children to depend on absent parents.

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