A biological parent has the right to seek child visitation or child custody. Fathers who were not married when their child was born must legally establish paternity in order to gain access to father's rights. If you’re a father going through a divorce or custody battle, it’s important to know your rights.
Establishing paternity is important for more than just having a name on a child’s birth certificate—it grants certain rights. When paternity is proven, and parents can’t come to an agreement on their own, a father could petition the court for custody and visitation of the child. Additionally, it sets up how child support, medical and life insurance benefits, and Social Security are all distributed.
Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody is always determined by the best interests of the child. Although it can be subjective, this standard means that any decisions made regarding child custody and visitation must be based solely on the needs of the child, and not the needs of the parents. Since Massachusetts state law does not outline a specific set of factors, a judge is allowed a good amount of discretion when making these decisions. Luckily, this law allows both parents to be on equal footing before they go to family court. This allows a father to possibly win primary custody of the children, allowing them to live and be in the care of their dad.
Child support is a series of financial payments to help the custodial parent provide shelter, food, and clothing to the children. If one parent is granted primary custody, it is common for a judge to grant that parent child support from the non-custodial parent. If a father is named the children’s primary custodian, they have the same right to receive child support as a mother does in the same situation.
As a father, it’s important to be aware of your parental rights before child custody and child support issues are resolved in court. If you’re a father going through a divorce, please contact our Clearwater divorce lawyers Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. today. We can guide you through the complexities of visitation and child custody and protect your best interests.Call (727) 245-9009 or contact us online to make an appointment. We serve clients throughout Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Hillsborough Counties.