What are the father's rights in a child custody case? 28 Answers as of July 04, 2013

My daughter is an unwed teen mother. She did not put the father's name on the birth certificate as he did not sign the acknowledgment of paternity form; in any case, they broke up several months' prior to the baby's birth. What rights would he have with the baby?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
The alleged father has essentially no rightsunless he seeks and is awarded rights to the child by the Court.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/4/2013
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
If he doesn't acknowledge paternity, he is not the father. But that is just a technicality. He has all the rights a parent has to a child.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/20/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
A child born out of wedlock is presumed to belong only to the mother. The father could petition the Court for a paternity test and if the child is his could request custody, visitation and support.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 7/20/2011
Osterman Law LLC
Osterman Law LLC | Mark D. Osterman
Eventually he has all the rights of an fathereven custody. Since your daugher seems to lack maturity, she needs to start growing up pretty quickly. If he has a job and a lot stability, he could challenge her for custody and a decent lawyer can sure make things tough for her. Even a rookie lawyer can get every other weekend and half the summer and half the holidays. Her child has the right to know its father. Our law and society are dead set against bastardizing children as we did 100 years agomaking them fatherless and nameless people. She needs to name the father and get support for her child. Children are not toys and they are not possessions. If she thinks that she does not have to share, then her child is a possession. The father's rights have been protected all the way to the Supreme Court. The coffee is brewingtime for her to smell it. She wants to protect the child, she claims, from bad influences. But I can tell you, she best be ready to prove it in a court of law because the law presumes a father is always good for a child until proven othewise. Withholding the child is against a statutory best interest of the child the court is obligated to follow. By the way, her refusal to acknowledge is evidence I would use against her if I represented the father. Most lawyers would.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 7/20/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
When parents are not married and has not been identified as the father on the birth certificate, the father has no rights until those rights are established by a court that has first judicially ruled that he is the father. Even if he were listed on the birth certificate, there is no way of describing what specific rights he has until the parents agree and/or a court issues an order approving a parenting plan that identifies what each parent's rights are. Likewise, he has no current duty for paying child support until paternity is established and child support is ordered. Eventually, child support could be ordered retroactively to birth of the child, but whether that will happen depends on a whole lot of facts that aren't yet known. Sooner or later one of the parents will need to begin court proceedings to get a clear determination of who has what authority and responsibility and the longer it is until that happens, the more complicated and nasty it could get.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/20/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    The father can file a paternity action to establish his rights. Until then, he has no legal rights. If your daughter receives any type of state aid, they usually file to establish paternity so that they can pursue child support.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    In a parentage action the court will impose a pareting plan that is in the child's best interest.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
    Once paternity is admitted or proved, fathers have rights to information & visitation and separate obligations for support of their child(ren). The custody/support case may be initiated by him, her, or the state if they are providing benefits for the child.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    For the biological father to obtain parental rights he would need to bring a parentage action to have himself legally determined by the court to be the father of the child. Then he would be able to ask the court to establish a parenting plan for the child determining what each parent's involvement in raising the child would be.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    The father of your daughter's child is not on the birth certificate and did not sign an paternity declaration. Also, I assume that the two of them were never married. In these circumstances, at this moment, the guy is not legally considered the father of the child and has no particular rights until paternity is established. Once paternity is established, then, the court should enter a parenting plan with some sort of visitation schedule. Also the father would then get to pay child support as well.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    IF he is the father, he has all the same rights as any other father. This is actually a very common question, it comes in various forms, and with differing facts, but I am asked at least 2 or 3 times a week about what rights, if any, a father has to a child. At this time, the boy in question is the "presumptive father" that means that we assume he is the father, but he has not been adjudicated by a court as the father, he is not named (that would be the putative father) and they were not married at the time of or within 9 months of the child's birth (an assumed father). The status of the father, be it presumptive, putative, or assumed has very little (almost none) affect on the rights of the father. A father has all the rights, including the right to participate in the child's life, to have access to and possession of, to make decisions for, etc. a child. Along with that, comes the obligations such as the obligation to support, provide food, clothing shelter, love, affection, protection, etc. From a strictly legal standpoint, the status changes: An assumed father has all these rights and it is the mother's duty to show he is not the father and therefore not entitled to rights, duties, obligations, etc. A Putative father has all the rights and duties because he is named and the father has the duty to show he is not the father. A presumptive father is just that, there is a reasonable presumption of parentage, and whichever party is seeking relief (your daughter wants financial contributions or he wants visitation) has the duty to establish paternity. So the short version is this, the status only defines who is responsible for asking the court for the DNA test, but until the DNA test shows otherwise, all three status get rights, duties, and obligations.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    If there is no Order of Paternity, then he has no rights. The Birth certificate is not the important document, the important document is an Order of Paternity issued by a Court .
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    Initially, none, at least not until his rights are established as the biological father of the child. However, if he establishes his rights legally, then he has equal rights with the Mother and is entitled to overnight contact, medical records and other reports, and of course, will have to pay child support.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    Every child has a father. He has as much right as the mother.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    As the father he has the same rights as the mother until a court orders otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    He could potentially bring a legitimation action in Georgia to establish his parental rights, just as she could bring a paternity suit. She should consult with a lawyer about all her rights and options. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    It is his child so he has the right to have parent time if he is a fit parent. Also, he will be required to pay child support.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Offices of Lopez, Pyrchalla & Kaufman, LLC
    Law Offices of Lopez, Pyrchalla & Kaufman, LLC | Russell I. Kaufman
    If he is the father then he could have the same rights to that child as the mother. All the father has to do is file a court case establishing parentage and he can request custody.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    The biological father of a child born out of wedlock has no rights to the child at all unless and until he gets a court order legitimating the child and granting custody/visitation rights. Until the. The mother retains all custody, power, and control Over the child.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    The father must act normally within two years of the childs birth or he could waive his paternal rights. However, you do not say how old the baby is so I have to assume he is still within that two year period. If he waits too long he may lose his rights to his child.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    He could start a paternity action. Ultimately, the court will consider the best interests of the child when determining custody issues.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    He would only have rights that are enforceable once he commences an action in court to determine paternity , custody and parenting time. In such an action, a court makes custody determinations based on what it believes to be in the child's best interests after reviewing any relevant facts.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    At this time, he has no rights to the child or visitation, and has no obligation to pay child support. For further information, please consult a domestic relations attorney near you.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    To Whom It May Concern: This is a slightly more complicated question than the usual custody and visitation case because it involves a Paternity issue. You did not say whether your daughter was a minor. That fact would complicate matters even more. At this point, the biological father has legal rights, though he might not be able toexercise them. He would have to file a Paternity action, with an Order to Show Cause, re: Custody and Visitation, to legally establish his parenthood and to obtain a Court Order granting him the right to see the child. Note that should he have obtained custody of the baby, the situation could have beensticky if his name was on the Birth Certificate. Since it is not,your daugther would be able to obtain the assistance of law enforcement to retrieve the baby should that happen.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    He has to pay child support for 18 years. Unless he files to legitimize the child (and succeeds) he has no custody or visitation rights.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    Since they were not married, the father will have no legal rights with the child until he files (and succeeds on) a complaint for paternity/custody. By the same token, your daughter will not be entitled to child support from the father until she brings a similar action.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Rosenberg & Press, LLC
    Rosenberg & Press, LLC | Christopher D. Hite
    Right now, he has none. However, if he acknowledges paternity and petitions the court he could be awarded some form of legal custody/ and or visitation. Upon recognition of such, he would have a legal obligation to pay child support and a percentage of unreimbursed childcare and medical expenses for the child. I would be happy to further discuss this matter with you.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/19/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney