Child Custody Lawyers for Fathers
Dads matter. It is crucial for any child to be able to have their father in their lives. Fender Law supports the legal rights of fathers in the courtroom every day. We proudly partner with Father to Father Inc. to provide legal, social, and employment assistance for fathers trying to stay a part of their child’s life. Single fathers have rights when going through divorce and custody battles, but the court can complicate things. We are here to make it simple for you.
Prove your Paternity as Quickly as Possible
One of the most important things to do is establish that you are the child’s father as soon as possible. This grants you certain legal rights such as custody and visitation.
The mother will have sole custody of a child who was born while she was not married. By default, the child legally will not have a father, though the mother can sign a Paternity Acknowledgment form at the hospital. If you are unsure whether you are the father, reach out to the Department of Social Services’ Child Support Enforcement Division for a genetic test.
Once you have acquired papers stating paternity, contact the DSS to find out what steps you need to take.
Fathers Rights When it Comes to Custody, Visitation & Child Support
The court will determine visitation and custody based on the child’s best interests. This can depend on the home environment, school systems, the child’s physical and psychological health, and – in some cases – the child’s preference.
Visitation rights are usually granted to the non-custodial parent, but the judge can decrease or eliminate visitation rights if they deem it necessary for the health or safety of the child.
Both parents are obligated to support the child in some way until the age of 18. Usually, this is in the form of child support payments from the non-custodial parent. The court can change or halt child support payments, but the custodial parent CANNOT withhold visitation due to missed or delinquent payments. You can also have child support payments decreased for spending more time with the child.
Providing for Your Child’s Education and Welfare
Both parents share equal rights and responsibilities when it comes to the welfare and education of the child. Each may attend school functions unless restricted by court order, and both may access all medical and educational records.
What to do if the Other Parent Takes the Child.
You do have rights if the other parent takes the child and tries to hide from you. There are two situations in which you can use Federal Parent Locator Services.
- If a criminal custodial interference case is being investigated or prosecuted.
- If a civil action to make or enforce a custody order has been filed in state court.
The program is not available if the court has disallowed you from information about your child’s location.
Claiming Your Child on Your Taxes
Your ability to claim your child as a dependent will depend mostly on custody. Generally, only the child’s primary custodian can claim the child as a dependent on their taxes. However, the court can decide which parent gets to claim. If you are married to someone other than the child’s mother and are filing jointly with your spouse, special rules may apply.
Reach out to Fender Law
Fender Law is proud to support fathers and father’s rights. If you are a father with a custody, visitation, or child support case, reach out to us at (843) 379-4888.