In family law, custody rights refer to certain privileges that parents have over their children. These rights legally authorize parents to make decisions about a child’s upbringing and living arrangements. Although both parents have a right to seek custody of their children, it was originally much harder for a father than a mother to get custody of their children. This was due to certain laws and biases that have since become outdated. 

As is true for any biological parent, a father’s rights regarding child custody are the same as the ones enjoyed by a child’s biological mother. This means that a father who is given custody will be allowed to take care of the child, have them physically live in their home, make decisions about how they are raised, and must financially support the child. 

However, the types of custodial rights that a parent has will depend on the kind of custody arrangement that is decided on by the court. Thus, although there is a trend towards awarding the parents joint custody, it is possible that a father may only be granted legal custody over the child. In such a case, the child will primarily live with the mother and the father may only receive certain visitation rights. 

If you are a father and are seeking to extend your custody rights, you should contact a local family lawyer as soon as possible. You will most likely need to undergo another evaluation and may have to appear again in court. A lawyer will be able to assist you with this process and can argue on your behalf in the event that a case becomes a full out custody battle.  

How is Paternity Established?

Paternity is an issue that frequently comes up in child custody cases. Paternity simply means that an individual is the biological father of a child. Biological fathers are granted certain rights over their children, including custody. Thus, in order to be able to exercise such rights, an individual may need to establish paternity (i.e., that they are the child’s father). 

There are several ways to establish paternity. One method that is often used to prove paternity is by having a potential father take a paternity DNA test. A paternity DNA test is a medical exam that will require the father to provide a sample of their DNA to a lab where it will undergo scientific analysis and return results that state whether or not they are the child’s biological father. 

Paternity can also be established by having both parents sign and file a form with the court that acknowledges that an individual is in fact a child’s biological father. With this method, the parents will most likely need to attach the child’s birth certificate to the form and submit it to the court for proof as well. 

In most cases, courts prefer to grant custody to a child’s biological parents if and whenever it is possible (e.g., both parents are fit). This is because of a long-held belief that giving custody to a child’s biological parents is in the best interests of the child. Therefore, one way to ensure fathers can get custody of a child is to establish paternity and prove that they are the child’s biological father. 

Additionally, a father may be granted custody of a child if the mother is unfit to raise them, becomes incapacitated, or dies. A father may also get custody of a child if the court determines that the father is in the best position to raise them in accordance with the child’s best interest standard. 

Are there Different Types of Child Custody?

As previously discussed, the court will typically apply the child’s best interest standard when determining which parent (or parents) should get custody of a child. The court may also decide to split custody between the parents or only give certain custodial rights to one of them. The reason this is possible is because there are different kinds of child custody. 

In general, there are two main types of child custody: physical and legal custody. If a parent retains physical custody of a child, then it means that the child will live with them most of the time and that they will be responsible for physically taking care of the child on a regular basis. 

On the other hand, if a parent has legal custody over a child, then they will have the power to authorize important legal decisions about that child. This includes decisions about their education, religious upbringing, medical treatment, and various other choices that affect how the child is raised. 

Additionally, there are some alternative forms of custody arrangements, including joint physical custody, sole custody, and bird’s nest custody. 

Joint physical custody means that the child will alternate living with both parents. Sole custody means that only one of the parents will have custody of the child. Bird’s nest custody, which is only available in some states, means that a child will live in one primary residence that the parents will swap in-and-out of each week. Parents may also create a customized custody arrangement by entering into an agreement and obtaining approval from a court. 

One last item to note about child custody arrangements is that it was traditionally the mother who was given both physical and legal custody of the child. Modernly however, the notion that only a mother should care for a child is becoming increasingly outdated. Thus, many courts now award custody to both parents and it is possible for fathers to gain sole custody over their children. 

All in all, as long as both parents seem fit to raise their child, the court will likely grant them joint custody. This trend has been around for several decades now, so a fit father should not have an issue retaining some form of custody over their child. 

If an issue does arise though, then it may be wise to hire a father rights attorney to assist with custody battles for fathers. An attorney with such experience can advocate on a father’s behalf and submit evidence that demonstrates why it may be in the child’s best interest to either live with their father or to spend some portion of time living with them. An attorney can also help a father to draft and negotiate for a customized custody arrangement. 

Should I Hire an Attorney for Help with Fathers Custody Rights?

As a parent, it is crucial that you understand the legal rights you have over your child or else you may be giving up important privileges without even knowing it. Therefore, if you have any questions or need assistance with a child custody issue, it may be in your best interest to speak to a local father rights attorney immediately for further advice.

An experienced father rights attorney can explain about the different types of parental rights you have under the law and can make sure that those rights are being protected. Your lawyer can also help you navigate the various requirements and procedures for a child custody and/or parental rights case, and can assist you in reaching a fair solution. 

Finally, if you believe that the other parent is unfit to raise your child and that you should retain full custodial rights, your lawyer can file an emergency protective order with your local family law court to ensure that your child’s health and well-being are not at risk.