Regardless of whether you are an unmarried dad or you are facing a divorce, you need to know that you have parental rights that need to be respected. However, it can be hard for a father to get the right recognition when it comes to the life of their child.
As a result, you can find yourself fighting to protect your rights. The good news is that you can find a divorce attorney with experience in protecting divorced fathers rights. Therefore, if you think that your rights are at risk, then you need to consult a divorce attorney. This page discusses what you should know about divorced father’s rights.
Table of Contents
Understanding divorced father’s rights
It’s important to know the rights you have as a father so that you can create a good plan to defend them. As a father, you need to have a continuous relationship with your children. It means that you have the right to have regular parenting time, communicate with your children, and be involved in their life.
If you were married to the mother of the child at the time of birth, then you can be considered to be the father. However, if you were not married, then you must establish paternity. You need to establish paternity as it allows you to also ask for visitation and it can make you responsible for child support.
There is also a chance that you can prevent a third-party adoption. This can happen if you are not married but think that it’s your child. In this case, the law allows you to prevent a third-party adoption, such as step-parent adoption.
You also have the right to see your children regularly. Regardless of whether or not you have a shared custody, the law allows you to see your kids via regular visitation. It can be easier for everyone to have a consistent visitation schedule.
Another right you have is that of making collaborative decisions. As a father, there can be several decisions that you need to make for the wellbeing of your child. Therefore, you can collaborate with your ex-spouse so that you can make crucial decisions associated with religion, education, and medical care.
The other right is co-parenting your child. Many places have courts that recognize the equal involvement of both parents. This is usually done in the interest of the children, especially if both parents were caring for the children before separation or divorce.
Lastly, as a father, you should remember that it’s your responsibility to pay child support. Therefore, if you desire to protect your parental rights, then you must also accept these responsibilities associated with these rights.
Protecting your rights as a father
No doubt, fathers usually come short when it comes to custody issues of their children. However, this doesn’t mean that you should not try to protect your rights. The good thing is that courts don’t legally discriminate against dads provided you can offer the social, physical, and emotional needs of your child. Also, you need to prove that you have maintained or tried to maintain a continuous relationship with your child.
You stand a better chance of protecting your parental rights if you can demonstrate that you have an active role in your child’s life. This is unlike fathers who chose not to play any role in the life of their children. The court can decide based on the interests of your child, so you need to demonstrate that it’s in their best interest to have co-parenting, shared custody, and many more.
Therefore, you need to establish paternity quickly. If you fail to establish paternity, then you can forfeit your parental rights. Also, if you do not establish paternity earlier, the court can consider it as a lack of commitment to the child. You should also get legal confirmation of this paternity right after the birth of your child.
Playing an active role in the life of your child can also help you protect your parental rights. Therefore, make sure that you attend doctor’s appointments, go to their games, meet with their teachers and coaches, and many more. Other adults can support your case if they are familiar with this involvement with your child.
Even if you are not asked to provide financial support, you need to do it. It’s a good idea to help your child financially so that it can assist your case when it comes to proving your commitment to your kid.
And, you should never skip visitation unless it’s necessary. Quite often, some things can come up to make it hard for you to visit your child. In such situations, you need to contact the mother of your child quickly and try to reschedule the visitation. When you skip your visits for whatever reason, the court can think that you are not committed to the child.
You should also make sure that you spend time with the child. You can decide to help your child with homework, play in the backyard, or do some chores together. This helps you demonstrate to the court that there is a bond between you and your child. You should also note that there are various ways of parenting. This includes financial support, caring for your child, and making decisions. And, the court wants to make sure that there is a strong bond between you and your child, so it can be harmful to the little one to terminate this bond.
But if there are some restrictions because of drug, domestic violence, or other charges, it’s a good idea to be patient. You can still be involved in the life of your child. While supervised visitations can be overwhelming, you can still get more parental rights over time.
If you realize that the child’s mother has filed for a third-party adoption, then your parental rights can be terminated if you fail to file a challenge. In most cases, if you file a challenge to this adoption, you have to show that you want to file for full child custody right away. The custody petition needs to be filed in a short period after this objection.