When it comes to legal issues, many fathers’ feel as if mothers have the upper hand, especially in custody battles. However, fathers are given numerous inherent rights, whether or not they were married to their child’s mother. If you are going through a divorce or a family legal issue involving your children, make sure you understand your legal rights as a parent.
About Fathers’ Rights in Tennessee
Fathers qualify for parental rights whether they were married to the mother of their children or not. However, the relationship between mother and father can make a difference in how those parenting rights are determined. Children born within wedlock are considered children of both spouses, thus giving the husband a certain about of custody rights. Unmarried fathers often face more obstacles when seeking paternal rights, but they are able to take a vital role as parents in most cases.
Many fathers struggle to assert their rights after a divorce. Going through a divorce is difficult enough without also having to worry about whether or not you will be able to remain an instrumental part of your child’s life. Traditionally, Tennessee courts favored maternal custody and allowed visitation rights to fathers in a divorce. However, the courts are now geared more towards shared custody arrangements because children are more likely to thrive under the care of both parents. However, in special cases of abuse, relocation, or other serious concerns, the court may make an exception by awarding sole custody to one parent over the other.
If the couple is not married when the child is born, the father must make a paternity action to assert his rights as a parent. This is especially important if his name is not on the child’s birth certificate. Paternity actions, or parenting actions, are instrumental in asserting the father’s rights if he wishes to push for partial or sole custody.
The important thing to remember is that the court aims to make decisions in the best interest of the child. Whether you wish to fight for custody or visitation rights, it is good to assert your rights as a father in order to explore your options, both for your sake and for the sake of your children.
Child Support & Father’s Rights
In most cases, fathers are asked to pay support payments to the mother on behalf of the children. While this is not always true, it is the most common scenario in Tennessee family cases. If the mother of your children is asking for you to pay spousal support, or asking that you contribute more in your support payments, it is important that you seek legal help immediately so that you can assert your rights and consider your options. Child support payments are used to support the child’s basic needs, but sometimes receiving parents may ask for unfair amounts or may even use some of the payment for their own interests. In order to protect yourself, make sure you have a legal advocate on your side.
If you are going through a divorce or are facing a family legal issue involving child custody, visitation rights, or child support, our firm wants to help protect your rights as a father.
Contact Patton & Pittman Attorneys to get started on your Clarksville family law case.