A reporter recently interviewed many fathers, a family law attorney and a judge to understand if fathers and mothers have equal rights when it involves the custody of children. Statistics of parents who are not living together indicate that 80 percent of custodial parents in Pennsylvania and all across America are mothers. The reporter asked experts multiple questions and for tips on how to ensure that fathers’ rights were considered in custody cases.
Many fathers struggle to balance life, careers and paying court-ordered custody payments. Although many fathers desire to provide for their children, some fathers may run into career and life changes that may make it difficult to make payments. Although it may be tempting to make no payments in these circumstances or to save money by not hiring an attorney, experts recommend hiring an attorney to inform a judge of circumstance changes. In addition, it is recommended that some payment is made instead of no payments because a judge can sentence a father to jail time if child support is not paid.
Fathers who are not married to the mother of their children may not initially have any rights to custody, especially if no paperwork was filed to indicate paternity at the child’s birth. Before custody can be requested of a child, a father must begin by filing legitimacy paperwork. It is in the best interest of a father to legally express interest in the care and custody of a child as early as possible because delaying could be interrupted as a lack of interest.
Parenting is difficult, and is certainly complicated when a relationship is strained with the other parent. Attorneys can advocate for fathers’ rights based on the desires of the client. Because child support and custody agreements can alter throughout the years of a child’s life, Pennsylvania family law attorneys can remain a resource when needed.