Understanding parental rights for fathers in a custody case can be difficult. At the Law Offices of Corrie Boulay we are committed to making your child custody case go as smoothly as possible, caring for the peace of mind of you and your children. So, we have included answers to some of the questions that fathers frequently ask when going into a custody proceeding.
If you and the child’s mother had the minor child/ children while you were married, you are automatically presumed to be the father of the child. As such, you and the mother are the “joint natural guardians” of the child. Essentially, this means that neither you nor the mother have any custodial rights superior to the other. You both equally share in all the rights and obligations of parenthood.
As a father heading into a custody case , things can be a little more complicated. You are still the father of your children, but questions regarding the care of the child now have to be answered and agreed to by both you and the mother and/or decreed by a Judge. Now the financial, medical, educational, residential, and all other decisions regarding your child’s life and future have to be arranged.
The answers to these questions can be tricky and they depend on every person’s respective situation. However, each and every answer will include and is subject to the “Child’s best interest.” In any custody case expect to see the phrase: the “child’s best interest”. This phrase is the paramount concern of the Court in any proceeding.
So, with the “Child’s best interest in mind,” you and the mother have equal claim to the physical and legal custody of the minor child. You also share an equal claim to what the Court calls “decision making power,” which is- just as it sounds- the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s medical care, education, finances, etc. This right of course includes the access to medical, dental, and educational records of the child, even if you are not the custodial parent. Additionally, you as a father have the right to travel out of the state with your children, as long as you have notified all the necessary parties. And if the mother ever attempts to unjustly deny you visitation, you have the right to seek aid from the Court and modify the custody or visitation order.
We hope this information on parental rights for fathers will help you and your family through the difficulty of a custody proceeding. We know how complex these matters can be, and encourage you to give us a call at (410)268-2488 for any legal assistance you need.
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