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.