BBC Radio WM – 19th November 2014
Head of the London Office Gavin Scott appeared on the Caroline Martin show on BBC Radio WM to discuss issues surrounding children.
He explained that in situations where a mother does not want the father involved in the child’s life, it is not entirely down to her. Legally speaking, the focus needs to be on the child, who has a right to grow up knowing both parents.
A father in this situation should seriously consider his legal rights. For example, will his name be put on the birth certificate? If so, he will have parental responsibility for the child.
To listen to the full interview, click here. Gavin’s segment begins at 01:47:30
CM – Caroline Martin
GS – Gavin Scott
CM Lets wrap this up with Gavin Scott who is a family law expert from Stowe Family Law. Good afternoon Gavin.
GS Good afternoon Caroline.
CM Thanks very much for joining me this afternoon. So you can shed light on this thing because we’ve got the situation where guy is with a girl. They’re in a relationship all is going well and then suddenly he realises he doesn’t want to be with her. Two months later she contacts him and says ‘I’m pregnant with your child, but I want nothing from you, you’re not having anything to do with the child’ and that’s how it’s left at the minute. What rights does he have? Can he insist on anything or have a hand in any of this or is it purely up to her if she doesn’t want him in this child’s life is that the end of it.
GS It’s not purely up to her at all and the focus is on the child and if this matter was in front of the Court it would be looking at the child’s best interests and that child has a right to grow up knowing both parents. Now is an extremely important time for him to get legal advice, because he must consider his name being on the birth certificate. If that’s the case he will get parental responsibility, whereas he won’t get it automatically if his name is not on the birth certificate. There’s the child’s name to consider and also considering what the mother has said it’s important that he sets out his intentions now as to what kind of contact he would like with the child growing up, his ongoing relationship with the child and he must try to rebuild the communication between them because there’s going to be so much to discuss. Quite often I see disputes with parties who cannot communicate who hate each other and it just turns into messy litigation costs and Court proceedings which is no good for the child or children. Now there’s a number of things he could do, he could try to resolve it by talking to her, or by solicitors writing, or there’s even mediation which could help which is a great venue for both of them to sit down and talk about all their issues and work them out.
CM What about, because there’s been some suggestion and we obviously don’t know this its been two months since they split up there’s been some suggestion the whole dilemma she was very controlling and she was texting other people on the side what about this baby if it’s not his, is there any way of proving that or getting any tests done before the birth?
GS You could do it before the birth in theory but you probably wouldn’t want to go through the pain and any damage that might do. I guess you would have to get some medical advice on it. But what’s the urgency when that can be done after the birth probably a lot safer and I guess he needs to establish now what her position is. Is she saying that he is the father and he’s content with that then how that should go forward. If there’s any concern or issue that it might not be his then there needs to be the test done because you wouldn’t want to come years later down the line to find out that he’s perhaps been paying child maintenance and devoted half his life to the child and it’s not his.
CM Do you know we have already had such a call in this show that somebody was doing that for seven years. Seven whole years they were paying child maintenance and then it turns out that the child wasn’t theirs and there was nothing they could do, they couldn’t get their money back. It wasn’t the money that was the problem for them it was the fact that they thought they had a son and it turns out that it wasn’t theirs at all.
GS I’ve heard of cases where there has been some kind of compensation for this. It’s not necessarily a family law area but that person needs to get some advice on it, there’s a lot of circumstances surrounding it.
CM Well you know what if they are still listening hopefully they’ll hear that and do just that but thank you Gavin that’s really good to have it wrapped that up with you so that we do know where we stand with this. So thanks very much for coming on ok Gavin.
GS Your welcome, just one more thing we do have a blog on our Stowe Family Law website which offers advice on all of these areas for people to look at.
CM So if people were to Google Stowe Family Law they could find you from there yes?
GS That’s right yes.
CM Lovely thank you very much that’s Gavin Scott from Stowe Family Law who’s a family law expert.