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Unmarried fathers: what are your rights regarding your children?

Family law and custody issues often affect married or soon-to-be-divorced couples, but that is not always the case. Custody and visitation rights are important issues for many unmarried New Hampshire couples. If you are an unmarried father and have concerns about your rights and interests as a parent, you would be wise to take action to seek an immediate resolution to your case.

Simply because you were not married to the mother of your children does not mean you do not have the right to play an active role in the lives of your kids. In fact, there is significant evidence that children benefit when allowed contact with their fathers. You may need to seek legal help in order to protect your vital role as a father and preserve or secure time with your children. 

What can fathers do?

If you do not have access to your kids or there is no set custody arrangement in place, it may be necessary to take specific steps to protect yourself, as well as the best interests of your children. Some of the steps you can take include the following:

  • Establish paternity – If there is no presumption of paternity, the mother claims you are not the father or you are not on the birth certificate, it could be necessary to legally establish yourself as the father. This will allow you certain rights, such as visitation.
  • Seek custody or visitation plan – In some cases, a father and mother may be able to negotiate on the terms of a reasonable plan that will benefit their child. This arrangement would be subject to the approval of the court.
  • Take your case to court – If an out-of-court resolution is not possible, you have the right to take your case before a judge. The judge will consider all evidence and factors of your case, ultimately deciding on what is best for your children. 

Protecting your rights as a father is not always an easy process. You will find it helpful to take steps to shield your interests by seeking help as early as possible in your effort.

You do not have to fight alone

If you are unsure of where to begin, it can be helpful to start with a complete evaluation of your case. This simple step will allow you to be sure of your rights and confident of your choices as you look to preserve your interests as an unmarried father.

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