Many fathers contact our attorneys to ask what rights they have to visit their child (or children) if they were never married to the mother and there are no orders in place. The answer is that they are at the mother’s mercy, alas. This results in inconsistent visitations or even complete alienation due to a mother’s refusal to provide visits. This is perilous to both the father and the child.
It is imperative for a father to establish a legal relationship with his child in order to obtain certainty with regard to custody and visitations, ensure that he is kept up-to-date on his child’s well-being and, perhaps most importantly, be a part of the decision making for his child’s healthcare, education, religious upbringing, travel, etc. Establishing paternity through the court will provide a father with legal rights to custody, visitation and decision making for his child. Once paternity is established, the court can make custody and visitation orders that serve a child’s best interests. The judges understand that a strong bond with both parents benefits a child. An experienced family law attorney at Claery & Hammond, LLP can help fathers obtain the orders necessary to make sure they play a key role in parenting their children.
Lance Claery, Partner
Claery & Hammond, LLP