Understanding Your Rights as a Father Without Established Paternity

Some fathers feel like they’re getting the raw end of the deal when it comes to parental responsibility, but state laws specify today that courts can’t consider gender as a factor, so both parents have equal opportunities to get custody. Historically speaking, unwed fathers had few parental rights – a biological mother could easily prevent a biological father from forming a legal relationship with his own child. Nevertheless, times are changing, and fathers today have an equal opportunity to gain custody of a child.

What is Paternity?

In essence, paternity is a legal determination of the biological father of a child. This is generally done by a court order finding that the alleged father is in fact the father of the child. Often this is done in a child support proceeding brought by the mother. However, a father can file a paternity action against the mother to have this determination made by a court.

What Are Your Rights as a Father Without Established Paternity?

In Arkansas, a father has no legal rights, including visitation rights, until paternity is established. However, the good news is that a parent can get into court in as little as 30 days to establish temporary custody or visitation. If custody has never been determined, the court will allow a temporary custody hearing at the outset of a case. If the mother is not allowing you to see the child as much as you desire, it is important to file a paternity suit quickly and demand a temporary hearing.

Contact a Family Lawyer

The OMG Law Firm will argue aggressively for your rights as a father. We will also explain your options thoroughly and help you choose the best course of action. Call our law firm to discuss your custody issues with an experienced and compassionate attorney.

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At the OMG Law Firm, we take pride in our client-focused approach — the people who walk through our doors are more than just clients to us. They are families going through difficult changes, business owners in search of more room to grow, and injured workers looking to plan out the next stages of their lives.

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