The role of a father in a child’s life is fundamental. This is even more critical if the parents of the child are unmarried. Unmarried fathers do not have to be worried about being involved in their child’s life because the legal system protects them as long as their involvement is in the best interest of the child. However, if you are an unmarried father, you may face several legal hurdles. This is why you need to work closely with a lawyer to defend your rights as a father.
Scenarios When Father’s Need Legal Help
If the parents of the child are unmarried and the mother of the child is married, then the courts will automatically assume the child is the mother’s husband. This is legally referred to as marital presumption of paternity. The court provides for mandatory paternity tests if paternity is contested.
If the parents are unmarried, then the mother decides when the father can visit the child and if they can get custody. To remedy this, you need to get in touch with a lawyer in New York who will help you get custody and visitation rights.
If the mother of your child wants child support, and you are contesting the amount of child support or even the paternity of the child, legal help will get the problem sorted out.
If you are a stepfather and do not want to financially support your spouse’s child, then you are not legally required to do this in most states including New York.
If you are a father and you have a child out of wedlock, then you are legally required to support the child until they reach 21years of age.
What Does the Law Say About Father’s Rights?
The Domestic Relations Law 70 of New York determines several issues pertaining to father’s rights.
The paternity of a child is established under this law. Paternity may be determined in two ways. The first is through the Acknowledgement of Paternity Form. This is signed at the birth of the child by both the father and mother. The second way is through the court system. If the paternity of a child is questioned, a paternity test can be petitioned through the court system.
Custody, guardianship, and visitation can be determined by the court through a habeas corpus.
Whatever the case, the legal system will always consider what is in the best interests of the child.
Once a father has signed an Acknowledgment of Paternity Form, they can seek custody and visitation from the courts. They can also seek guardianship if the mother is deemed unfit. They will first have to give evidence that the mother will not be able to take care of the child for one reason or the other.
Filing for Custody or Visitation
Anyone with a close relation to a child including the father of a child can file for custody or visitation rights in courts according to family law. The petition for custody or visitation is filed in Family Court. If parents are getting divorced, then filing for custody can be done in the Supreme Court as part of the divorce proceedings. In this case, the custody details will be found in the Divorce Judgment. There is no cost associated with filing for custody or visitation. The services of your lawyer will depend on the experience and skills of the lawyer you choose. If a father petitions for custody or visitation in court, this is followed by documents with details of the petition being served to the mother. The court process after the petition has been filed is also done in Family Court.
What a Lawyer Can Do
If you are a married, divorced, or unmarried father then you need to fight for your father’s rights through getting the right legal advice. Our lawyers are experienced and skilled at handling cases of paternity and custody and will make sure you get the best possible terms depending on your circumstances.