Understanding Your Custody Rights As A Father

Posted on: 1 April 2021

So many child custody discussions focus on a mother's right to primary custody of the children and the agreements that are necessary for visitation and child support payments. However, this approach to child custody conversations often leaves fathers in the dark. As a father, it's important for you to understand that you have rights, too. Understanding your rights will help ensure that you have a fair amount of time with your children and protect that relationship that you have as a parent. Here are some of the things that you should know.

You Have A Right To Establish Paternity

In order to file for child custody rights, you must be established as the child's father legally. For those fathers who were not named on the birth certificate, you have the legal right to have paternity established so that you can pursue your custody rights. A child custody attorney can help you to file a paternity petition with the courts to receive the necessary court order for paternity testing.

As much as it's important to understand your right to establish paternity, it's equally important that you understand your right to exclude paternity as well. If you are being taken to court for child support on a presumption of paternity for a child, you have the legal right to contest that paternity by requesting a court-ordered paternity test before you agree to any kind of child support or custody arrangement.

You Have A Right To Fair Time

As the legally established father of minor children, you have the legal right to fair time with your children if you are not cohabitating with their mother. You can work with a child custody attorney to file a petition with the courts for custody establishment. You can look at visitation rights such as one weeknight and every other weekend; this is a standard custody agreement. You may also be able to request a 50 percent custody agreement that provides you with the same amount of time with your children as the other parent.

You Have A Right To Full Custody

So much of the perception surrounding child custody is focused on the priority of keeping children with their mothers. However, what many fathers don't realize is that you do, in fact, have the legal right to pursue full custody of your children if you believe it to be in their best interest. In these cases, you'll most certainly need to work with a child custody attorney because you will have to create a sound case that shows why the children's mother is not fit to retain custody and why you are the best parent to care for these children.

For more information, contact a child custody lawyer today.