Q. My ex-partner is mother to our daughter but she won’t let me see her. Can I still apply to the Court to see my daughter even though I am not on her birth certificate?
A: Yes. An application to see your daughter can be made through the Family Court. However, in order to have a say in all aspects of your daughter’s life you must have parental responsibility. As defined in Section 3(1) Children Act 1989 which states: “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.
Parental responsibility gives the power to make important decisions in relation to a child - for example, decisions about where a child lives, whether they can receive medical treatment, what religion they follow, which school they attend. To secure parental responsibility for your daughter there are various legal options you could pursue.
In your current position, assuming you have no cause for concern about the care that your daughter is receiving by her mother, a Parental Responsibility Order (section 4, Children Act 1989) would be your best course of action. This is a Court Order that specifies that a named person has parental responsibility for a child. Parental responsibility is then shared between the holder and any birth parent that already has parental responsibility.
To obtain an Order you would need to complete Form C1. You can download application forms and guidance information from www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk. Alongside pursuing an application for parental responsibility you can apply to Court for a Section 8 Child Arrangements Order which can set out contact arrangements for your daughter. Whilst it is not necessary to instruct a Solicitor when making an application to the Court, seeking legal advice will assist you through the Court process and ensure you obtain the best outcome possible.