As a father, you have a number of important rights. You are entitled to seek visitation or custody with your child, and in some cases, you may have the right to seek child support from the mother. If your rights are at risk, a seasoned family lawyer can help you enforce them.
If you have not been formally established as the parent of a minor child, you may need to ask the courts to first formally establish paternity before seeking custody or visitation. Once paternity is established, your rights as a father are official. A Guilford father’s rights lawyer can advise you on what those rights mean for your relationship with your child and assist you through the legal process.
Establishing paternity does not always require a court case, as parents can voluntarily acknowledge this legal status. However, if the mother is unwilling to do so voluntarily, a court case is the only option.
To begin the process, the potential father or another petitioner must file with the family court. There, a judge typically orders the potential father to submit to DNA testing. If there is a genetic match with the minor child, the court may establish paternity.
Paternity orders are essential. Without them, a father would lack the ability to enforce his rights as a parent. Although this process may seem straightforward, it may be in a potential father’s best interests to retain a lawyer in Guilford to uphold his rights along the way.
Once paternity is established, a father is entitled to seek custody or visitation of his minor child. The courts have the power to oversee these cases, regardless of whether the parents have been married or not.
It is important to remember that fathers have the right to seek custody or visitation, but there is no guarantee the judge may grant their request. Judges are required to make custody and visitation decisions that they determine are in the child’s best interests. A dedicated attorney can assist a father in building his case to convince a judge to enter the requested visitation or custody orders.
Along with the rights of a father, establishing paternity also creates certain legal obligations. Fathers have an obligation to financially support their children—even when they have not been granted custody or visitation. The amount of support required under the law varies depending on the child’s needs, the cost of medical care, and the custody schedule, among other factors.
While fathers are frequently the party paying child support to the mother, the opposite can also occur. A father with primary custody of a minor child has the right to seek financial support from the mother. A skilled attorney can provide helpful insight into a Guilford father’s right to pursue child support from the mother and help him to do so.
While you have rights as a father, you may lose those rights if you do not take the necessary steps to enforce them. From establishing paternity to seeking visitation or custody with your children, the outcome of these legal proceedings can have a dramatic impact on your relationship with your child.
Let a Guilford father’s rights lawyer help you throughout this challenging process. Our team is standing by to assist you, so call as soon as possible.