What are Father’s Rights?

There are few things more difficult than losing custody of your child. As a father, it is important to note that you are entitled to parental rights. Oftentimes, fathers do not receive fair treatment in court when it comes to child custody terms. Our experienced New Jersey divorce attorneys are here to promise that we will fight for your rights, every step of the way. Here are some of the questions you may have:

How does New Jersey define “Father’s Rights”?

First and foremost, you must prove that you are, in fact, the child’s father. Though paternity is automatically granted to certain individuals, others will have to fight to establish paternity over a child. For instance, if you were married to the child’s mother at the time of birth, you are automatically granted paternity. Additionally, if you were married to the child’s mother in the 10-month period before the child was both, you will also have automatic paternity. In some instances, mothers and fathers can sign a Certificate of Parentage at the time of their child’s birth, which is also acceptable proof of paternity.

That being said, if, for instance, you are not granted paternity automatically, you will have to bring a Paternity Action to the New Jersey Family Court. If the judge buys your case, he will order a genetic test to determine whether you are truly the child’s parent. If it is determined that you are the parent, you officially have legal rights regarding child support, custody, and visitation.

Physical custody vs. legal custody

Physical custody refers to where your child lives. While no parent wants to imagine living without their child, our firm urges fathers to fight for legal custody at the very least. This is because legal custody determines whether you can make key life decisions for your child, including where he/she attends school, what religion your child practices, the types of health care treatments he or she can receive, and more.

How do courts decide who gets to keep my child?

Courts consider various aspects of your life when determining child custody, including the relationship you have with your child, the relationship you have with your former spouse, whether you are seeking child custody with honest good intentions, how long it has been since you last spoke with your child, and, ultimately, your child’s best interests.

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee.

To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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