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Can fathers’ rights be enforced in a child custody case?

| Mar 13, 2021 | Child Custody & Support |

In Connecticut child custody cases, it is not uncommon for fathers to feel as if their role is secondary. It is especially challenging if the couple is not married. Fathers who want to play an active role in a child’s life should know their rights. By understanding how the law addresses these issues, fathers will have a better chance of having those rights enforced and being in the child’s life.

Key factors in fathers’ rights cases

There are crucial fundamentals when unmarried fathers are concerned about sharing child custody and being involved with the child. For married couples, the birth of the child will result in an automatic presumption that the husband is the child’s father. There is no such presumption if the couple is not married. Therefore, it is necessary to establish paternity. The father’s name being on the birth certificate is usually sufficient. This can be done by filling out an Acknowledgement of Paternity form.

In some instances, a mother might contest a man’s assertion that he is the father, and a paternity test and court order will be needed to place the father’s name on the birth certificate. For custody, any man who has been legally declared the child’s father will be treated as if the couple had been married and parted ways. That grants the right to seek custody and have visitation with the child. The essential determining principle of custody is to serve the child’s best interests. This involves keeping the child safe, furnishing the necessities of life, educating the child and providing proper health care.

Navigating a child custody dispute can be complicated

Any family law case can be difficult, and a child custody dispute is especially worrisome. This is made more complex when the parents are unmarried and the father is trying to assert his rights. Negotiation might be beneficial. If the parents are not on good terms, then going to court could be required. For advice and guidance throughout the process, the father might wish to consult with experienced legal professionals. They may be able to help achieve an acceptable resolution.