When parents go through a divorce, they usually worry about their children’s futures. This includes matters of custody and how they will get to stay involved in their lives. When dealing with custody, people often believe that mothers are awarded custody more often than fathers. However, this is a misconception, as fathers have the same parental rights that mothers do. Fathers who wish to fight for the right to their children should retain the services of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney for help.
What are Father’s Rights?
Fathers who wish to have rights to their children are required to first prove that they are the biological father. There are some cases in which fathers are automatically granted paternity while others have to fight to prove it. When a father is married to the child’s mother during the 10-month period before the child’s birth, they can be granted paternity immediately. Some parents choose to sign a Certificate of Parentage when this child is born, allowing a parent rights to their child.
In the event that a father is not given paternity automatically, they must bring a Paternity Action to the Family Court. Once this is done, a judge can order a genetic test in order to determine whether or not they are the child’s biological parent. If they are, the father will be granted legal parental rights. This includes child custody, child support, and visitation rights.
Types of Custody in New Jersey
There are different types of custody that a father can be awarded in New Jersey. The type that is awarded can vary depending on the case. Physical custody allows the child to live with and spend the majority of their time with the parent that it is awarded to. On the other hand, legal custody allows the parent to be involved in making decisions for their child and their upbringing. This can include matters such as healthcare, schooling, religion, and more. During custody cases, it is important for a father to at least fight for legal custody.
How Do Courts Determine Custody?
Custody decisions are taken very seriously by the court, as it is required that the decisions are made in the best interest of the child. What is best for the child can be determined by considering the following:
- The father’s relationship with the child
- The father’s relationship with the former spouse
- If the father is seeking custody with honest intentions
- The stability the father can provide their child
- The child’s needs
- The child’s preference if they are of sufficient age
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