Legal Rights for Fathers Explained

Can Fathers Win Child Custody?

Child custody is a major component of separation and divorce proceedings when there are minor children involved in a dissolving marriage. Custody is the legal and physical responsibility that a parent has in caring for their children. Legal custody involves the decision-making responsibilities that are given to parents. Physical custody is the actual responsibility each parent has for physically housing and caring for a child. Both physical and legal custody can be awarded in different ways. Parents may share joint custody, and co-parent as they and the family law system see fit, or sole father custody or sole mother custody will be decided.

Sole Father Custody

Sole father custody is awarded less often in the United States than sole custody that goes to the mother. In terms of father custody, seven out of ten fathers are non-custodial parents. Family law is governed by individual states and each one has its own specific statutes that guide custody proceedings. As a general rule, for both mother and father custody, decisions are to be made fairly and without biased based on the gender of the parent. Many judges throughout the country, however, have a tendency to award custody to mothers more often than fathers. Some legal professionals believe that a child, especially a younger one, benefits most from the preservation of the mother-child bond.

Though this may be the case in some situations, perspectives on mother and father custody decisions have changed considerably in the last few decades. In the early part of the 1900s children were considered the property of the father; father custody often took precedence. Following a shift in social mores, mothers were considered the most appropriate caretakers and were given precedence. The current climate of family law places the utmost importance on the best interest of the children involved in mother and father custody arrangements.

Factors

There are a number of factors taken into account when mother and father custody is determined. Children are able to testify to a judge or other legal decision-maker about their wishes regarding mother and father custody preferences. Children of any age can testify though discretion is especially important when children are younger than seven. Factors such as domestic violence, the health and stability of each parent, parenting history, amount of time a parent is able to dedicate to caring for the child, and a number of other factors are considered when determining mother and father custody.

Conflict

In marriage dissolutions that do not involve major areas of conflict, most family law systems will allow the two parents to work out a parenting plan alone or with the help of a mediator, so long as the agreement is in the best interest of the children involved. Finalized decisions must usually be approved by a judge. Mediators are social workers, psychologists, and the like who specialize in facilitating the mother and father custody negotiations process. Legal representation by an attorney can be beneficial in custody negotiations, especially in cases where there is a conflict of interest. A qualified and experienced family law attorney can help a parent in custody negotiations to ensure that their legal rights and options are protected and that their interests are maximized in the process of determining legal and physical custody of children.

Legal Rights for Fathers

A father who participates in the creation of life is granted distinct and equal rights to the mother. Having said that, in most circumstances, if the father and mother’s relationship ends, the mother will be awarded the bulk of custodial rights. A regular family court, on the other hand, will assess each parent’s character before granting custodial rights.

When a kid is born out of wedlock, both the father and the mother have legal rights that differ depending on state law. When a man is declared the biological father of a kid, he establishes his position as a biological carer. To retain such rights, it is required to meet the definition of a “father” as defined by the underlying countries.

Men who are mentioned on the child’s birth certificate, a man who has been determined by the court to be the child’s father or a guy who is referenced in an affidavit by the mother confirming that he is actually the child’s father are included in the majority of legislative definitions.

Once a man is proven as the child’s father, he has the same right to custody as the mother or a married father. As a result, Father’s rights establish the entitlement to some type of child custody—either shared or full-time, depending on the court ruling.

Fathers have the right to visit their children. Child visitation is usually an issue when the father does not have custody of the child but wishes to spend time with the child on a part-time basis. To get visitation rights, the father can either negotiate with the mother or file a petition with a local family court to create a schedule.

As the child’s father, the individual is also granted parental rights. For example, the father is involved in the child’s decision-making process, from medical to educational difficulties.