Stratford Father’s Rights Lawyer
Fathers often have a special attachment to their children, and every child has a legal right to a relationship with each parent if it is in their best interests to have one. If you are a father who is struggling with paternity, custody, or visitation rights, you may need the help of an adept Stratford father’s rights lawyer. An experienced family law attorney could assist you by explaining your legal rights, helping to establish paternity, negotiating various aspects of child custody and visitation, and representing your interests in court.
Legal Rights of Stratford Parents
The law in Stratford, Connecticut gives both parents equal legal rights to request custody and visitation with their child. Physical custody determines where the child primarily lives and who will make general day-to-day decisions about the child’s care. Legal custody refers to major decisions that affect a child’s life such as religious upbringing, schooling, and major health decisions.
The court will typically award physical custody to one parent and parenting time, also known as visitation, to the other. In some cases, joint physical custody will be ordered, and the child will live with each parent for an equal time. Legal custody is traditionally shared between both parents, barring any circumstances that would make such an arrangement harmful to the child’s best interests. A Stratford father’s rights lawyer could help an individual come to a custody agreement that suits
Best Interests Standard
Courts use the best interests of the child as a standard when making custody decisions. The judge considers many factors relating to the child’s needs and will award custody in a way most capable of meeting those needs. Some of the factors the court may consider include:
- Distance between parents’ houses for physical custody determinations
- Willingness and interest of each parent to be the primary caretaker
- Prior involvement of each parent in the child’s life
- Location of other adults historically involved in the child’s life
Courts have increasingly recognized the importance of a father’s involvement in a child’s life. Reflecting this, many family court judges have ruled that fathers who are heavily involved with a child’s upbringing and daily life may offer the best supportive environment to raise a child after a divorce.
The law offers single parents certain rights and responsibilities in their child’s life. As such, a father in Stratford who establishes his paternity may be able to obtain a court order for visitation rights.
There is a presumption that a child born during a marriage is the joint responsibility of the married couple. For unmarried couples, however, paternity must be legally determined, either by a voluntary acknowledgment or by court order. In either scenario, a father’s rights attorney in Stratford could help fathers pursue formalization of their paternal rights.
Methods to Determine Paternity
A Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity is a document signed by both parents that becomes valid and final sixty days after it is signed. After it has become valid and final, neither parent may withdraw their acknowledgment. This voluntary acknowledgment allows a family court judge to order custody, visitation, and child support.
When there is no voluntary acknowledgment, either parent may request a court order to establish paternity. The following persons or agencies may make such a petition in Stratford:
- Mother of the child
- Father who believes the child is his biological child
- The man identified as the child’s biological father
- Municipal welfare administrators
- The State Department of Social Services
If the petition is allowed, the court will order genetic testing of all parties to determine paternity.
How a Stratford Father’s Rights Attorney Could Help
Even though more fathers are awarded custody in recent years than they once were, fathers still need to exercise their rights and demonstrate to the court that it is in their child’s best interests to award custody to them. You may need the help of a knowledgeable Stratford father’s rights lawyer to ensure you are treated equally and fairly during this process. Call now to get started on your case.