As a father, few things can be more frustrating than not being able to spend time with your children. If you are separating or divorced from the other parent of your children, you have rights regarding custody, visitation, and support. You may need an experienced advocate to help protect those rights, and our team of Short Hills fathers’ rights lawyers are ready to help.
If you are encountering roadblocks to asserting your rights, our experienced family attorneys could help you decide what your next steps should be. We could help you maintain your relationships with your children.
The law does not discriminate against gender. This means that a father has the same rights and legal obligations to their child as a mother. An experienced attorney in Short Hills could provide direction to a father trying to assert his rights over his children.
In some situations, fathers can be the “parent of alternate residence.” This means that the children physically reside with their mother, and she has primary physical custody. However, this is not always the case. Additionally, legal custody refers to decision-making authority, and generally, fathers have the right to joint legal custody, unless they are found to be an “unfit” parent. In a shared legal custody arrangement, a mother cannot decide about educational or medical needs without consulting the child’s father.
Typically, the terms of custody, visitation, and support are in a final judgment of divorce, which incorporates the Matrimonial Settlement Agreement and parenting plan. If a mother refuses to follow the parenting plan, an attorney can bring a motion to enforce a father’s rights. This holds for all aspects of custody, visitation, and support.
There may be instances where a mother has primary physical and legal custody, but she is not fit to take care of the children. If a mother becomes involved with substance abuse, for example, or displays signs of mental illness or instability, a father may wish to make a motion to get joint or sole physical and legal custody of his children.
Many factors control the amount of child support a parent must pay, including the type of custody arrangements, the economic circumstances of both parents, and a variety of other considerations outlined in state law. A child’s right to financial support stands separate from visitation. Therefore, even if a mother unlawfully denies a father visitation, he cannot withhold child support.
As stated previously, if a mother violates a father’s right to custody or visitation, a lawyer in Short Hills could help him file a motion. A court can modify both custody and child support agreements upon a finding of “changed circumstances.” If a father loses his job or has a drastic drop in income, for example, a judge may modify the amount a father must pay or be entitled to receive.
To assert his rights, a father first must establish paternity. If a child is born when two parents are married, the law presumes the husband is the father. If paternity is in question, a father can acknowledge paternity by signing a Certificate of Parentage and filing it appropriately. If a man does not recognize that he is the father, a court may order DNA testing. This involves a mouth swab from the mother, child, and the putative father. Once paternity is established, the father may owe child support, but also may have rights to visit with their child. A lawyer could help a father in Short Hills assert his rights by guiding him through the paternity process.
Maintaining a relationship with your children after a separation can be challenging. You may feel overwhelmed and undermined in these efforts. Our Short Hills fathers’ rights lawyers could provide the vigorous advocacy you need. A father’s relationship with his child is crucial, and we can help you maintain yours with your son or daughter.