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The UK's leading Shared Parenting charity

Read Me First

This page is the best place to start and find out some answers to your initial questions. To use this page click on the 'Q' to reveal the answer 'A'. To clear the answer click again on the yellow 'Q'. If there is something you don’t understand please call the FNF National Office on 0300 0300 110 or the National Helpline 0300 0300 363.

General Enquires

How do I join?

Joining is easy and you can do it by the click of a button. Go to Join Us to find out more.

Anyone can be a member of Families Need Fathers. Our members include fathers, mothers, resident and non-resident parents, grandparents, new partners and friends as well as people who agree with what we do.

What do I get if I am a member of Families Need Fathers?

• Access to the members’ area of the FNF website
    o Download all our factsheets for free
    o Download court forms and read instructions on how to fill them in and make an application to court
    o Download parenting plans
    o Access to workshop videos and much more!
• McKenzie magazine - keeping you up-to-date on all developments in the family law field 
• List of local telephone contacts and referral to panel of members with in-depth knowledge on matters ranging from child maintenance to CAFCASS
• Discounts on publications and books
• Access to our online forum
    o Receive support and advice from other members
    o Share your story and hear from others in similar situations

Members help us to get changes made so that both parents can share the care of their children after they separate.

How can you help me?

Have you separated from your partner or do you think you will? Are you worried about not seeing your children or about the effect the breakdown of your relationship might have on them? If you are, Families Need Fathers can help you with the support and information you need.

We help mothers, fathers, grandparents, new partners and extended families. We are here to help parents and their families go on giving the love, care and support that their children need after separation - and we support parents and families to do this - especially if you are having problems in coming to an agreement on your own.

Support and information is available in a number of ways:

  • National telephone helpline - available from Monday to Friday, 6pm to 10pm on 0300 0300 363.
  • Local branch meetings - where you can get face-to-face advice, talk through your situation with others in similar circumstances and be with other people who know how you feel and can give you ideas. (You can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).
  • Factsheets and publications - from dealing with CAFCASS, making decisions about money, getting welfare reports and how to represent yourself in court which means you don’t need to pay for a solicitor.
  • Online forums - where you can 'chat', ask for the advice and experience of other members and get feedback all the time.


There are more things you get if you are a member. To find out more click here.

There are other places where you can get the information, services and help you need. Click here for links to other help and support.

Where is my nearest branch?

We have branches across the country from Newcastle to Exeter, click here to find out where your nearest one is. You can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend.

Can I talk to someone?

You can phone the helpline on 0300 0300 363, 7am-midnight, 7 days a week. If you are a member you can also call one of your local contacts.

 

I need help with the law, the courts etc. How do I find this?

the helpline, visit your local branch meeting, post a question on the e-mail forum or go to law and information section on this site.

I don’t understand some of the terms and phrases used. Where can I find out what they mean?

Resident parent – parent that the child lives with most of the time.

Non-resident parent – the parent that the child doesn’t live with most of the time.

Court order – what the judge decides at the court.

Child Arrangements Order – an order made by a judge saying that sets out who the child lives with, when they spend time with the other parent, and so on.

Contact – the time the non-resident parent spends with the child, also called parenting time.

Direct Contact – is when you see your child face-to-face.

Indirect Contact – is talking to your child on the phone or sending them letters.

Contact issues – are problems with contact or parenting time

Interim contact – contact before a decision is being made at the next court hearing.

Mediation – is talking to the other parent with someone else there to help you make decisions, and not always in the same room.

Parental responsibility - a legal definition, and means you are able to make decisions about your child and get information about them from schools and doctors.

Shared Parenting – means both parents look after the child for some of the time.

Cafcass- Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service

Hearing – going to court so that a judge can make a decision.

First directions hearing – the first time you go to the court.

Interim hearing – when you go to the court, not for the first time, but before a judge makes a final decision. This might be while the judge is waiting for a Cafcass officer to write a report.

Final hearing – is the last time you go to court. The judge will make a decision about you and your child.

Cafcass or Section 7 report – the judge can order a report about you and the other parent before he makes a decision.

 

 

Contact/Parenting Time

I have just broken up with my partner and I am worried about not seeing my children. What can I do so I don’t stop seeing them?

Families Need Fathers can help you. We can give you general information about seeing your children (these are called contact issues) or help you with your own situation.

 

There are three different ways we can provide you with help:

The best way to receive help from us is to become a member. Then you can get help in different ways including factsheets, information books and our internet forums, where you can 'chat', ask for the advice and experience of other members and get feedback all the time.

Another way to get help and support is our helpline on 0300 0300 363 (7am-midnight, 7 days a week).

 

Or if you go to a local branch meeting you can receive face-to-face advice from local members. Go to http://www.fnf.org.uk/help-and-support/local-branch-meetings to find the closest one to you.

My children don’t have any contact with me, what can I do?

You have come to the right place; FNF can give you help and support. The best way to get help from us is to:

Join and become a member.

Or phone our helpline.

Or go along to your local branch meeting (you can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).

We may also have information that will help you in our factsheets. These are free to download if you are a member.

 

I have been stopped from seeing my children, can you help?

Unfortunately the parent that the children are living with can sometimes stop the other parent from seeing their own children. You can get help from us.

Join and become a member.

Or phone our helpline.

Or go along to your local branch meeting (you can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).

We also may have information that will help you in our factsheets. These are free to download if you are a member.

 

My children need to see me, what can I do?

You have come to the right place; FNF can give you help and support. The best way to get help from us is to:

Join and become a member.

Or phone our helpline.

Or go to your local branch meeting (you can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).

We also may have information to help you in our factsheets. These are free to download if you are a member.

Is anyone allowed to stop my children from seeing me?

Only a court can officially stop you from seeing your children. If anyone else tries to stop you, you can do something about it. Please call our helpline on 0300 0300 363 (7am-midnight, 7 days a week) to get support over the phone.

I am a grandparent and I have not seen my grandchild since their parents broke up. What can I do?

You can get help and support from us by:

Join and become a member. (You can get help for your son or daughter from us.)

Or phone our helpline.

Or go to your local branch meeting (you can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).

We also may have information to help you in our factsheets. These are free to download if you are a member.

 

 

 

Legal Issues

Do I have a responsibility to see my children?

Yes your children need you to be part of their life. Please read our parental responsibility factsheet: http://www.fnf.org.uk/publications-and-policy/factsheets-and-guides

You can also find out more by:

By becoming a member, phoning our helpline or by going to your local branch meeting (you can always take someone along with you i.e. your partner, parent or friend).

We also may have information to help you in our factsheets. These are free to download if you are a member.

 

Do I have any legal rights as a father?

Do you have Parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility is a legal label tying a parent to their child. For more information please download our factsheet at: http://www.fnf.org.uk/publications-and-policy/factsheets-and-guides

Go to http://www.fnf.org.uk/law-and-information/parental-responsibility for more information.

Or phone our helpline and speak to someone.

 

What is Parental Responsibility?

Parental responsibility is a legal label tying a parent to their child. For more information please download our factsheet at: http://www.fnf.org.uk/publications-and-policy/factsheets-and-guides

Go to http://www.fnf.org.uk/law-and-information/parental-responsibility for more information.

Or phone our helpline to speak to someone.

 

Do my children have any legal rights to see me?

Yes they do. Children have the right to see both their parents if it is safe.

Most important is Section 9 of the UN Convention on Rights of the Child:

"Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best interests."

 

 

 

What can I do to see my children?

There are different ways of getting to see your child:

- Mediation. This means talking to someone with or without the other parent there, who will try to help you both sort out the problems. 

- A family member or friend could help you talk about problems. You don’t have to be in the same room if it is difficult.

- Contact Relate and see if they can help you.

- Collaborative law is a good idea for some people. This means using solicitors to help you sort out your problems without going to court.

- Try to talk to your ex partner if you can. Or try writing a letter. Suggest what you can do together to help your children. You can get help to write letters from our forum http://www.fnf.org.uk/help-and-support/fnf-online-forum. Solicitors and going to court can cost a lot of money.

I feel like I’ve tried everything. Do I have to go to court so I can see my children?

It’s always best not to go to court, but if you have tried everything to sort out the problems then you may have to go to court. Contact our helpline or go to a localto discuss this.

I can’t afford to go to court again to see my children, what can I do?


You don’t have to have a solicitor. You can go to court on your own. FNF can give you a lot of help if you decide to do this. To find out more information click here.

You can apply to have the court fees rebated, using form EX160 available from the court or from here.

If you need more help, phone our helpline

 

 

 

Shared Parenting

What is Shared Parenting?

Shared Parenting means both parents look after their children and make decisions about them even when they don’t live together. The children don’t have to be with both parents for the same amount of time. Please see our guide to shared parenting.

 

 

 

Child Maintenance and Money Problems

I am having problems with child maintenance; what can I do?

Go to one of our branch meetings to talk to other parents who may be able to help you. Or you can also call the helpline.

You can also get advice from NACSA who help people in this area.

CM Options give information on the maintenance options available to parents.

How do I provide for my children?

The money you pay for your child (child support) can be agreed with the other parent.

It is worth contacting CM Options if you have any questions about how to provide child support.

What is child maintenance?

Child maintenance is what one parent pays the other parent who looks after the child most of the time.

The definition from CM Options:

“Child maintenance is regular, reliable financial support that helps towards a child's everyday living costs. The parent without the main day-to-day care of the child pays child maintenance to the other parent.”

http://www.cmoptions.org/en/maintenance/index.asp

I am separating. When can I sort out what I need to pay for my child (child maintenance)?

Go to a branch meeting to talk to other FNF members who may be able to help you, you can also call the helpline.

See the CM Options website for more information:

When do I stop paying for my child? How long do I have to pay child maintenance?

Usually until the children are aged 16, or 19 if they go on to further education (e.g. A-levels). However ask CM Options about your child.

My children live with me half the time. Can I get any benefits?

This doesn’t often happen. Look on directgov and see if you will be able to get anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 


FNF_Media The full transcript of Sir James Munby's speech to the Families Need Fathers AGM is now available on our website: http://t.co/qBp9F4x9n7
FNF_Media RT @cmoptions: We can help dad's too to make informed decisions about child maintenance arrangements - see http://t.co/Uyvy5N7b46 for more …
FNF_Media Need guidance or support about seeing your children after separation? Find details for our December meetings here: http://t.co/rXqnvqrNjy
FNF_Media Ever used mediation, or considering starting? You could help with research to improve services: http://t.co/pLOKRssBtT @Innovation_Unit
FNF_Media RT @TIPSLtd: @BickiepegsCo @FNF_Media @elainehanzak The National Parent Guide can now be accessed online at:http://t.co/3Tlfq0YlBT http://t…
FNF_Media Legal aid procedures causing problems for the Family Court, according to President of the Family Division: http://t.co/84MH3oGTLw
FNF_Media RT @drsue2014: @fps_cic @FNF_Media @matchmothers Rejected, alienated or estranged - peer support can help. http://t.co/O8LSdl7oIu
FNF_Media Could any dads help with a study on experiences of looking after children when they are ill? More details here: http://t.co/KS56TsxYjy
FNF_Media Our Central London branch meeting tonight has moved to The Penderel's Oak, High Holborn, WC1V 7HS. More details here: http://t.co/rXqnvqrNjy
FNF_Media Further coverage of Sir James Munby's speech at the FNF AGM in Family Law Week @familylawweek : http://t.co/jleELNRFT3
FNF_Media "I know how 'Kafkaesque' the Family Court can be" - http://t.co/yZiySUIeci
FNF_Media A big thank you to Sir James Munby, our workshop hosts and all the attendees at our AGM yesterday for a really interesting, engaging event!
FNF_Media RT @fatherhoodinst: Reach out to dads & boost child outcomes via #bringingfathersin http://t.co/nzoyypI0Jt Pls RT @fnforg @fnf_bpm_cymru @F
FNF_Media @SVPhillimore @Familoo Yes, we will look to post a summary of the day and this is one of the aspects that will be covered in a workshop.
FNF_Media @Familoo @SVPhillimore More data on what happens in cases once they leave the courtroom would be really valuable, in this area in particular
FNF_Media RT @fatherhoodinst: Why it's time to Bring Fathers In...please read and share our new blog #bringingfathersin http://t.co/ciIlFpZ7aF
FNF_Media RT @MissJoEdwards: At the start of @ResFamilyLaw DR week #abetterway "@TimesLaw: Revealed: shocking cost of divorce for children http://t.c…
FNF_Media RT @ullainoxford: @FNF_Media Please get in touch if interested! V v keen to include dads' experiences. ulla.raisanen@phc.ox.ac.uk thank you
FNF_Media RT @StoweFamilyLaw: Legal aid skewing family courts, says senior judge http://t.co/ddW8KYmSB9
FNF_Media Coping with Separation: FNF article in the latest edition of the National Parent Guide (page 92-93) @TIPSLtd http://t.co/oVnwdZPCwU

FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

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Upcoming Events

22/12/2014 Mon: London Central Meeting
23/12/2014 Tue: London North West (Harrow) Meeting
25/12/2014 Thu: Southport Meeting
27/12/2014 Sat: London North West (Harrow) Meeting
29/12/2014 Mon: Reading Meeting
1/01/2015 Thu: Liverpool Meeting
5/01/2015 Mon: London Central Solicitor Clinic
5/01/2015 Mon: Ipswich Meeting
5/01/2015 Mon: Manchester Meeting
5/01/2015 Mon: Oxford Meeting (check day with branch)
5/01/2015 Mon: London Central Meeting
5/01/2015 Mon: Barnstaple Meeting