About Fathers’ Rights
In the past forty to fifty years the numbers of births to unmarried parents have led to an increased awareness and focus on the fathers of these children.
These men are referred to as alleged, presumed, reputed, or putative fathers. Many are seeking recognition of their legal rights in courts across the nation and therefore expanding their roles in the upbringing of their children. Many of these fathers have every desire to share in the lives and parenting of their children, either as unmarried fathers or following their divorce.
The fathers’ rights movement emerged in the West in the 1960s and continues to affect social and political change in America today.
In the past, family courts across the country preferred to award custody to the mother over the father in a divorce; however, today’s modern courts don’t automatically assume the mother is the better choice and instead give the father equal consideration when deciding on child custody.
Rights of Unmarried Fathers
Historically, unmarried fathers have had fewer rights than unwed mothers or married parents in regard to their minor children. This has shifted and is no longer the case in the past several decades. In California, both parents are presumed to have the right to raise their children.
- You are considered a “presumed parent” if Your name is on your child’s birth certificate,
- There is a family court order that establishes a parental relationship, or,
- You have acted like the child is your own and raised the child as your own.
You may be a presumed parent with legal rights to the child, even if you are not certain that the child is yours or even if you know you are not the child’s biological parent. There are many complex issues surrounding paternity that an attorney can help with.
Sacramento Area Fathers’ Rights Attorney
Fathers’ rights are fundamentally the same as mothers, but they can be more difficult to establish if there is uncertainty or a dispute over who the biological father of the child is.
In cases where the biological father and mother were never married, it may become necessary for the father to establish paternity before he has any legal rights or responsibilities for his child. Genetic testing is the standard method if there is a dispute between the parents regarding paternity. Genetic testing is only needed if there is a dispute over who the child’s biological parents are.
Once paternity is established through the courts, the father enjoys the rights, privileges, and responsibilities towards his child, and these include the obligation to pay child support and, more importantly, the right to pursue visitation and custody of his child, for he can now take ownership over these rights.
In the absence of domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, mental illness, or a serious criminal record, fathers have the same rights to their children as the child’s natural mother. When seeking custody orders through a divorce, legal separation, or paternity action, it may be necessary for a father to enlist the services of a family law attorney to ensure his rights are established and protected.
At McKean Family Law, we have experience with these sometimes complex issues. We understand that fathers’ rights are a sensitive issue and that the outcome of your proceedings can permanently impact your relationship with your child. Please call McKean Family Law to schedule your initial consultation with us so we can help you with your case.