Being a father is a special relationship that is extremely important to both the child and the father. As a father, one of your worst fears is to lose your children. If you are facing the prospect of divorce or are looking to gain custody of your child, it is important to know what your father’s rights are. Continue reading to learn several facts about your rights to your child.
Laws Are Different In Each State
The first thing that is important to understand about your rights as a father is that there are different laws regarding child custody depending on which state you are located in. As our law firm is located in Utah, our information is primarily based on Utah law. However, it is important to note that the court does NOT favor the mother in any court. The court’s job is to act in the best interest of the child. In most states, a married father and mother will have joint guardianship and equal rights to their children.
Certain Attributes May Make A Parent Unfit For Custody
Because the court’s purpose is to ensure that the child is properly protected and is given the very best situation possible, information regarding the unfitness of a parent is serious. Understanding what may make you unfit for custody is important. Always make sure to set age-appropriate boundaries with your child and respond to your child’s needs.
An important part of being fit for child custody is being involved in your child’s life. Your track record of looking out for your child is important as is your child’s comfortability. Of course, if a parent has issues with substance abuse or has exposed the child to domestic violence or abuse, then it is unlikely that they will be given custody or visitation rights.
There Are Different Laws Based On Marriage Status
However, marriage status also has an impact on your rights to custody. According to Utah law, no matter how fit you are for the custody of your children, if you and your child’s mother are unmarried, primary custody will fall to her. But do not despair, if you establish paternity at the time of your child’s birth or before, then you can seek legal visitation rights or custody of your child. Unmarried fathers that are interested in having rights to their child should make sure that their names are listed on the birth certificate at or before the time of birth.
If a father’s paternity was not established at the time of birth, a father can take a paternity test. At this point, a father’s right to custody will be in question until his suitability as a parent has been determined. This is where fitness for custody becomes important again.
Firstly, if parents are unmarried, a father will need to sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity in order to gain rights to their child and in order to put a child support order into place. Child support is typically paid by the non-custodial parent. This is the parent that does not have physical custody of the child or has the child for the least amount of time. If a father wants to gain physical custody or full custody of their child, it is important that they have been paying their child support payments.
Do You Need Help Protecting Your Father’s Rights?
If you are looking for representation for your divorce case, we at Kaufman, Nichols, & Kaufman would be happy to be of service for you. We have a team of experienced attorneys who are prepared to fight for you and your rights as a father. We understand that there are many complex and delicate issues that need to be ironed out in a divorce, and that is why you need a professional divorce attorney with expertise in parent’s rights. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about our services, feel free to reach out to us today.