Fathers have rights, but in some cases, they need to assert themselves to get those rights recognized. When fathers aren’t married, they will need to take additional steps to make sure they have the legal access to their children that they desire.
Fathers who are recognized as a biological parent will be responsible for a few different aspects of their children’s care. For example, a father may be responsible for:
- Child support, if he is the noncustodial parent
- Regular visitation and contact
- Making decisions about his child’s or children’s medical care, religious upbringing, education and more
- Providing discipline and guidance
- Managing their child’s financial affairs
If you’re not married, should you get a DNA test?
If you are not married, there are a few ways to prove paternity and obtain the parental rights you want. For example, if you’re present at the birth of your child, you can sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.
If you don’t know if you’re the parent of a child, it is a good idea to get a DNA test. A DNA test will give you a simple answer to whether or not you’re the father of a child. If so, you then have the proof needed to seek custody and visitation along with other responsibilities.
Acknowledging or proving paternity is vital if you want to have visitation and custody rights.
If you’re married, can you still seek a DNA test?
Generally speaking, there is an assumption that the child of a married couple is biologically related to both the mother and father. However, if there is a question of paternity, it’s a good idea to seek a DNA test as soon as possible. That way, a man who is not the father doesn’t necessarily have to take on the role.
Can fathers get primary custody of their children?
It’s certainly possible that fathers could obtain primary custody, though most judges prefer to see shared custody arrangements where both parents see their children regularly. If you’re looking to seek primary custody, you should discuss your legal options and decide if it’s the right choice for your child.