Today, 19.7 million children live without a father. While it’s easy to blame the “deadbeat dad” stereotype, many fathers want to be the main part of their child’s life. But, this is easier said than done.
Many fathers struggle to prove paternity and gain custody. And, many have to endure a non-compliant mother. Some men don’t even know they have a child.
All of this is harder to prove when you’re unwed.
If you’re a father and are struggling to gain custody, knowing your rights will help give you a leg up in the legal system. Here are your father’s rights.
If you suspect a child is yours, it’s important you establish paternity. Paternity is the term that proves you’re the father of a child and you have a legal obligation to the wellness of the child. This is commonly done with DNA testing.
Establishing paternity is either a choice on your part or is required by the court. You’ll receive a legal DNA testing requirement if the mother claims you’re the father and you had no idea.
There are two DNA testing methods: Buccal scrap or a blood test (Restriction Fragment Length of Polymorphism).
Buccal scrap tests are the most common types used.
A swab is rubbed on the inside of the cheek of both the father and child, collecting the cells. The DNA from the cells are compared. If they have a 99.9% match, paternity is established.
After you prove paternity, you, as a father, have rights but also need to uphold your responsibilities as a parent. Here are a few that you need to know.
You’re not known as the father of the child until you and the mother sign a recognition of parentage (ROP) document. This document is required when the mother and father aren’t married.
Signing this document has many benefits. Neither you or the mother have to go to court. The father’s name is on the birth certificate and certifies you have a legal responsibility to the child.
While signing a ROP grants legal parental rights to the father, it doesn’t establish custodial rights. In order to grant custody, both the mother and father need to go to court for a parental adjudication.
Parental adjudication is the other way to establish paternity but covers more than signing a ROP alone.
The judge looks at the genetic and DNA tests and other documents they may find necessary. Parental adjudication court also decides custody, child support, medical support, and even the child’s legal name.
Should you get a lawyer? It’s recommended. There’s no guarantee the mother or another party will comply with your wants or needs.
It’s important for all fathers to know their father’s rights. Are you a lawyer who specializes in paternity cases? You need to have the best website to attract more clients.
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