There are many people in the Riverside area and throughout Southern California that talk a lot about father’s rights very broadly, in a way that suggests men are systemically being denied relationships with their children.
Particularly for all parents who are going through a divorce or other child custody matter, it is important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to “father’s rights”.
Fathers are able to establish parentage and may secure parental rights
Men who have children without being married have the option to establish parentage over their children. Establishing parentage can be done by signing the appropriate form or by undergoing DNA testing and obtaining a court order. In a court case, the DNA test will determine whether a man is the biological father of a child.
Once this happens, the man becomes the legal father of his children. Among other rights, he therefore has the right to pursue custody and parenting time with his child. He also has the responsibility to provide support for his child’s needs.
Men do not have special rights versus their children’s mothers
However, when people otherwise talk about “father’s rights”, it is important to remember that men have no superior rights to women when it comes to children.
The law does not prefer either moms or dads when it comes to raising and supporting children, and most judges do their best to apply the law fairly to both mothers and fathers.
Instead, judges are going to review child custody and parenting time issues with an eye toward ensuring that their decision is in the best interest of the children involved.
Ideally, the parents are able to get along well-enough so that both can be involved in their children’s lives and both can spend plenty of time with their kids.
Men and women alike who have questions about their rights in a custody proceeding should consider speaking with an experienced child custody attorney.