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Every parent has legal responsibility to care for a child but it can often be complicated, especially following a split and even more so if the split was not amicable and a result of abuse. The child’s needs and interests should be at the heart of every decision.
This article helps to give some advice on what legal responsibilities you DO have and specifically if you have to tell the father where you live.
If you and the father of the child split do you have to tell him where you live?
Yes. Fathers and mothers have equal rights and equal access to their child if they are named on the birth certificate. But, a child is not a possession and should not be treated as such, the situation should be dealt with maturely and with the child’s interests at the forefront. If you cannot come to an amicable resolution then it will need to be taken through the courts which can be more distressing than a mutual agreement.
No parent should use their child as a weapon to hurt the other. If the husband is simply lazy then this is not a genuine reason to do this.
Both parents have legal responsibilities towards the child which are:
- provide a safe home for the child
- protect and maintain the child
The above points are important.
If you have split because you feel this is HOW you protect your child then we do not recommend letting the father of the child know where you live, even if they do have a legal right. But, you will need to speak to the Police and local authorities about the matter as soon as possible to gain a legal and lawful resolution.
If the father has been abusive towards the child then you can’t keep your obligation to keep them safe by allowing access. Equally, if you have been the abusive partner then the father absolutely has a right to find out the location of the child.
If the father or mother have been abusive towards the other then the courts will decide on the custody arrangement for the child. A child can not decide for themselves until they’re 16.
It’s important to remember that the father has the same rights as the mother when it comes to the child until a court says otherwise. It may not be your location he is after but his child’s which is a reasonable request.
Disappearing without letting the father know or without a court order is not in line with the law and is not morally right, either.
The general rule in England and Wales is that it is the child’s right to have access to both parents. Are you taking this right away by withholding the location?
Not letting the father of your child know where you live should be a temporary measure, and it should only be done right the right reasons. It should be for the courts and social services to decide whether access should be shared, restricted or stopped altogether by looking at the case as a whole.
Parenting is tricky and no one should ever rush to make any decisions and certainly not alone. It is vital that you speak with local authorities on this.
If you do not want the father of the child to know where you live then you should speak to local authorities about the reasons for this. If the relationship became abusive then you need to let the police know.
Your other responsibilities are:
- Disciplining the child
- choosing and providing for the child’s education
- agreeing to the child’s medical treatment
- naming the child and agreeing to any change of name
- looking after the child’s property
These responsibilities need to be taken to account – are you able to provide all of these without the father’s involvement?
Do I have to tell the father of my child where I live? – A summary
It is not in line with the law to not tell the father where you live for no reason and doing this can go against you in a court of law so think carefully about making this decision. Unless you genuinely fear for you or your child’s safety then it would be right thing to let him know.
Flip the situation the other way, if the father had the child you would also have the right to know the child’s address.
It important to put the child’s needs first but also consider the father’s rights.