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What Are Father’s Rights?

Father’s rights are focused on making sure the father has equal rights in parenting, child custody, visitation, and child support as the other parent. Historically, family law courts would give parenting preference to the mother. Mothers were often seen as being better able to nurture and raise a child whereas the father was perceived to be the primary wage earner.

Family courts now focus on the rights of both parents in raising their children. Having both parents taking an active role in their child’s life is also seen as being in the best interests of the child. A father’s rights attorney can help a father make sure they understand all their legal rights in the divorce process or when deciding family law issues.

Parental Rights of Both Parents

Both parents have certain rights and responsibilities for their children. Parents have the right to make legal decisions for their minor children. Parents also have a right to decide important parts of the child’s upbringing, including education and religion. Even if the parents are not together or have gotten a divorce, the parents are still responsible for the child.

Parental rights after divorce or separation include:

  • Joint or shared custody
  • Visitation
  • Financial support for raising the child

Can the Father Get Joint and Shared Custody?

Custody in a divorce or separation can include legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody involves making decisions for the child, including medical, education, and religious decisions. Joint legal custody means both parents can make decisions on the child’s behalf. Physical custody is where the child lives and primary custody is where the child spends most of their time.

Child custody can be decided by the parents with a parenting agreement. The child custody order can determine parenting time, visitation schedules, and the extent of shared custody between the parents. If the parents cannot agree on a child custody plan, the court may decide any legal issues, based on the parent’s wishes, child’s needs, and other factors.

For example, a 50/50 child custody schedule shares parenting time equally between parents. This can include alternating weeks or two-week schedules. However, a 50/50 schedule can be more difficult for parents when they do not live close to each other or if it would disrupt the child’s school schedule. It may be up to the parents to figure out the best parenting schedule so the child can spend quality time with both parents.

What Are Visitation Rights for Fathers?

If a father does not have primary custody, they may have a visitation schedule. Fathers have the right to visitation under the child custody and visitation order and the mother prevent the father from visiting without court approval. If the mother does not allow the father to visit the child based on child custody orders or does not allow the father to communicate with the child, the father can go to court to enforce the visitation schedule.

Can the Father Receive Child Support?

Child support is generally based on the income of both parents, parenting time, and the needs of the child. Child support is generally paid to the parent with primary custody. The court will generally determine child support based on state guidelines. If the father is awarded child support and the mother isn’t paying, the father can enforce the support order to collect payment.

How Can I Prove Paternity?

After a parent gives birth to the child, paternity can be presumed for a married couple or can be voluntarily acknowledged by both parents if they are not married. If one parent does not acknowledge paternity, the court may establish paternity. If the mother or father wants to legally establish paternity for the child, they can petition the court. A genetic test can establish paternity in family court.

Can I Take Away Parental Rights?

A parent may want to terminate the parental rights of the other parent. Terminating parental rights is permanent. If one parent is trying to terminate the rights of the other parent, the parents have a right to be heard in court. Grounds for terminating parental rights are generally limited, including:

  • Child has been abused or neglected
  • Parent has abandoned the child
  • Parent has consented to give up parental rights

How Can a Father’s Rights Lawyer Help?

If you are involved in a divorce, custody dispute, or paternity action, a family law attorney can give you legal advice on your rights as a father. Legal representation for father’s rights issues can ensure that you get a fair ruling when it comes to the custody of your children.

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