Focused Guidance, Aggressive Family Law Advocacy

Fathers’ rights and the importance of paternity establishment

| May 20, 2021 | Family Law

In New York, fathers’ rights are a point of contention in many family law cases. Often, there is a perception that the mother will automatically be granted decision-making authority and custody while the father recedes to the background on most matters. For fathers who want to take an active role in their child’s life or are seeking custody, it is critically important to establish paternity. This issue can arise if the couple is not married when the child is born or there is a question as to who the biological father is. It is important to remember key points about establishing paternity and to know how it could impact fathers’ rights.

Why is paternity establishment important?

Legally, if the couple is not married, the child will not have a legal father until paternity is established. The failure to establish paternity will deprive the father of his ability to see the child, have parenting time and form a bond. With legal establishment of paternity, the parental rights will be in place, the father’s name is on the birth certificate and there is the right to have custody and visitation.

This also benefits the mother and child in myriad ways. For the mother, the responsibility for the child – personal and financial – will be shared. Medical history could be critical for the child and knowing the father’s past will help with preventative care and treatment. Finances are always a concern and paternity can ensure that the father will be obligated to provide for the child. Finally, if the mother does not have medical coverage, the father can have the child on his plan. Along with these factors, the child will know that he or she has two parents, there is a caring relationship and support.

Experienced and professional family law assistance can be essential with fathers’ rights

Fathers’ rights issues have garnered substantial attention in recent years. Some states like Texas are considering changes to the law to grant fathers equal rights to custody. Still, there is a general perception that the mother will have the bulk of the time and responsibilities with children. For fathers who are thinking about their child and want to make certain they have the chance for custody, visitation and a positive relationship, the first step is to establish paternity. For this and other issues related to this complicated area of the law, having professional assistance is a wise decision.