Monmouth County Birth Fathers Do Have Rights
Typically, most decisions during pregnancy are made by the mom-to-be, including testing, healthcare and birth choices and the decision about adoption. Each of these is a very important and life-altering decision, especially for the life of the yet-to-be born child.
To gain parental rights, including child custody, or even the right to object to adoption, biological fathers who are not married to the mother must not only establish paternity, but also demonstrate a genuine commitment and fitness to parenting their child. In this article we will discuss the importance of establishing paternity, and then clarify what is meant by a “genuine commitment” and “fitness”. Finally, we will take a brief look at your options if you didn’t give consent to the adoption of your child.
A biological father who is not listed on a birth certificate can still establish paternity. Talk to a legal expert as at The Bronzino Law Firm, with offices conveniently location in both Monmouth and Ocean County. Paternity indicates your acknowledgement that you are the child’s father and that you agree to take legal responsibility for your child. Depending upon the circumstances, for example the relationship with the mother, taking custody can be an easy or challenging task. If the mother refuses to sign the affidavit of paternity, there is you have the option to request a DNA test that would establish paternity. Your lawyer can advise and facilitate your best options.
Demonstrating a commitment
This means demonstrating a larger and lifelong commitment to parenting. It includes showing that the father is prepared to provide for his child’s material and emotional needs, as well as to developing the fullest possible parental relationship with the child. Typically, this can be shown by contributing to cover child-related expenses for prenatal care, birth and child support after delivery. Contributing to the cost of prenatal healthcare is particularly important because this demonstrates your commitment to your child even before birth.
Although a birth father may want to check on the mother’s test results, be present at doctor’s appointments, or otherwise be involved with prenatal healthcare and birth; he can be prevented from participating if the mother does not approve. A father’s participation requires the consent of the mother. Under the privacy laws, neither spouses nor unwed parents are entitled to access the medical records of the other without authorization. However, once the child is born HIPAA allows either parent the right to see their child’s medical records.
Show yourself as “fit” to be a father and to parent
Fitness to parent is a multi-sided determination that is considered formally and has important legal ramifications. Often, when considering the fitness of the father to parent, a judge will want to know if there is any instance of abuse, addiction, incarceration, and/or psychological instability, to name a few. If an abusive trend is perceived, it unlikely that a person will be considered fit to parent, either mother or father. Another concern is to check to see if a child has or would suffer from neglect. To be fit you will need to show that you are willing and able to parent, that you will be there for the child and that you have a good and reliable support structure to care for the child.
Fathers who do not provide support during pregnancy and beyond, who cannot show the ability to provide support, or who have demonstrated drug/alcohol problems or a have a tendency to violence will almost certainly be denied the right to object to adoption.
Be active before and after birth
The extent to which an unmarried father has the opportunity to play a parental role in the child’s life often varies. However, by doing everything you can including acting with responsibility both before and after birth, demonstrating your genuine concerns for the best interests of your child and seeking legal recognition of your parental rights as soon as possible will all help you to establish your rights to have custody or a say in an adoption and/or in any other parental decisions.
What happens if you didn’t give consent?…
If the mother of an unborn child has discussed adoption and depending on circumstances and the laws, a father who objects to the adoption of his child should file an objection to the adoption in the appropriate court, and possibly with the state health and human services department. Often, an objection to adoption must include an indication of intent to petition for custody of the child in a short period of time, 30 days, for example.
YOUR LAWYER CAN HELP
To Know Your Rights as an Unmarried Father, Get Legal Guidance Call The Bronzino Law Firm serving towns across Monmouth and Ocean County for a free consultation
When compared to the obligations and demands of motherhood, the biological requirements of fatherhood are quite simple. This means that a father’s rights with respect to his children are less clear than those of the mother. Traditionally, mothers retain nearly all of the decision-making rights regarding an unborn child. Nonetheless, with the assistance of an attorney, birth fathers can still take actions on behalf of their child.
If you have any questions about your rights and obligations as an unmarried father call The Bronzino Law Firm serving in Ocean and Monmouth County today to talk to a legal representative who has experience in family law.
As an expectant father, the fact that you cannot physically carry your child to term does not mean you don’t have some rights (and responsibilities) with respect to your child’s well-being. You can protect your child’s interests along with your rights as a father by meeting with an attorney at The Bronzino Law Firm . The earlier you act, the more convincing your case will be to a judge. Get started today by contacting an experienced family law attorney at The Bronzino Law Firm to provide counsel on your child custody matter in Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Brick, Toms River, Lakewood and across all of Monmouth and Ocean County.