People often discuss a father’s rights through the lens of divorce. There is a common perception among divorcing men that the legal system leaves them at a disadvantage. However, father’s rights don’t only apply if you are married to the mother of your child.
You have rights immediately after the birth of your child. Still, as an unmarried father, you will have to take a few extra steps to assert those rights and develop a lifelong relationship with your time.
Father’s rights often start with establishing paternity
If the mother of your child has tried to cut you out of her life or your child’s life, then she may not work with you when it comes to establishing paternity.
If she doesn’t name you on the birth certificate and won’t voluntarily fill out state documents declaring you the father, you may have no choice except to initiate legal proceedings. You can seek shared custody or even sole custody as a father once the courts verify your paternity.
How do you prove you are the father?
Most Arizona paternity cases not resolved before going to court will involve court-ordered genetic testing. Occasionally, court summons may be enough to motivate the mother of your child to acknowledge you as the father.
In most other scenarios, however, you will have to wait for the results of court-ordered paternity testing in order to verify that you are the father of your child. Once those test results come back and affirm your paternity, you can then ask for shared custody or visitation time with your child. An experienced attorney can help you.