Saratoga Springs Father’s Rights Lawyer
In New York, parents have equal rights regarding custody and support of their children, and there is no scientific or legal evidence to support favoring a mother over a father in these matters. However, some parenting stereotypes still exist within the court system, resulting in custody and child support orders that do not adequately consider a father’s rights or a child’s best interests. If you seek primary or joint custody of a child, a seasoned family law attorney could prepare you to face and overcome these biases.
Before initiating or defending yourself in a custody proceeding, you must understand your rights regarding your child’s care and support. A Saratoga Springs father’s rights lawyer could guide you through the court process and work towards an outcome that supports these rights and preserves your family.
The Evolution of Father’s Custodial Rights
Although men and women are presumed equal under the law, it does not mean that they will receive joint or balanced custody of their children. This inequity is partly due to prior court precedent called “the tender years doctrine,” which established that mothers should have custody of young children. Although New York abolished this principle, unequal custody orders still leave many fathers feeling like the court is biased against them. This is why it is important for fathers to consult with a skilled Saratoga Springs attorney about their rights.
Establishing Paternity in Saratoga Springs
A father has certain rights relating to his child, and a local attorney could advocate for the protection of these rights in court.
Establishing paternity secures a father’s right to care for the child and provides essential benefits, including claiming social security, inheritances, and life and medical insurance. A man is presumed the legal father if the parents were married at the time of birth. If the parents were unmarried, a father must prove paternity.
There are two ways to establish paternity:
- File a completed Affidavit of Paternity with the state
- File a paternity action and undergo a DNA test
Once paternity is determined, the father has certain parental obligations, including supporting the child.
Determining Child Custody
In New York, courts weigh the following factors when determining child custody:
- The child’s best interests
- The child’s desire, if they are old enough to express a preference (generally 12 or older)
- Whether either parent has been the child’s primary caretaker
- The parties’ mental and physical health, and any history of domestic violence
- Each parent’s work schedule
- The child’s relationship with the parents, siblings, and extended family
- Each parent’s ability to foster the child’s relationship with the other parent
- Each party’s parenting skills and their ability to provide for the child
Considering these factors, a father must establish that any proposed custody arrangement supports the child’s best interests. The more involvement the father has in the child’s day-to-day care and education (including consistent participation in medical care, homework, transportation, sporting events, and extracurricular activities), the better the chance of primary or joint custody. A father’s rights attorney in Saratoga Springs could facilitate a beneficial custody schedule and maximum participation in the child’s life.
Once paternity is established, fathers generally have a right to visitation. However, it is not uncommon for custodial parents to raise false allegations of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence to restrict this right. Unfortunately, some courts are willing to accept these allegations without a strong legal defense.
While both mothers and fathers are legally responsible for supporting their child, men who face unreasonable support demands or unfounded paternity claims might be liable for significant child support payments unless they respond adequately. Establishing paternity and identifying a father’s actual income before determining child support is essential. An effective attorney could navigate these issues and ensure an accurate child support calculation.
Let a Saratoga Springs Father’s Rights Attorney Help
It is critical to assess your specific situation to ensure the best possible schedule for you and your child. If you do not have your desired custodial or visitation arrangement, or fear losing the time you have with your child, contact a Saratoga Springs father’s rights lawyer and schedule a consultation to discuss your concerns.