Knowing Your fathers rights is important since most unmarried dads are non-custodial parents. Child Support America is a neutral website that supports both residential and non-residential parties. But due to the nature of this topic the rights of a father deserves its own page.
A non-custodial or non-residential parent is the person who does not have primary care of the child/ren. In most cases this person is still required and obligated to pay child support. Regardless of this fact, there are many fathers’ rights that men need to be aware of at all times.
The first thing to remember is this. If you have not gone through the courts for visitation or have paperwork from a divorce you DON’T HAVE ANY RIGHTS!!
One of the first things you should do as a non-custodial parent is establish some sort of court ordered schedule to see your kids. Doing this has many advantages, and more importantly it gives you many rights as a father. Without court ordered documentation of visitation, you can run into many problems as a non-residential parent.
The most dangerous issue is the fact that the primary parent can legally leave the area and relocate without giving the non-custodial parent warning. If this happens you will face an uphill battle to locate and establish legal rights to see your children. On the other hand, if you have established some sort of court ordered visitation, the primary parent would need your permission to legally take the kids away from your care. This is simply one issue, but is a harsh reality when discussing the rights of a father.
There are many other things that a non-residential Dad should know about their fathers rights. They should be aware that having a court ordered parenting agreement entitles them to receive many of the same rights that the primary parent has. You will have entitlements such as having access to the child’s school and medical records. In most cases you will be able to access this information without the consent of the primary parent.
The school system and the child’s physician cannot legally give you this information without court ordered documentation. They also cannot legally deny you any of this information as long as you have the proper paperwork needed. Once you are awarded your parenting agreement from the courts, make sure you place your paperwork on file with whatever agencies you want to obtain records from.
If you do this, things should run smoothly when you want to get your child’s records in the future. If you ever run into any problems, politely tell the agency that you already have records on file and that you have a legal right to your child’s information. The agency should then provide you with access to the records.
Keep in mind that most agencies are only familiar with the residential parent. When the non-residential parent takes advantage of his or her rights it seems out of place. I have personally experienced this first hand.
I’m the non-custodial parent of an eight year old boy. I obtain my son’s records at least once a year from his school and his doctor. When I first started doing this, it felt weird because the staff didn’t know I was the father. I presented a copy of my driver’s license and my court ordered paperwork and asked them to place it on file. I have not had a problem since that time.
You also have many fathers rights concerning your visitation with your child/ren. Having a court ordered visitation agreement gives the non-custodial parent a set schedule to visit their kids. Without this agreement you could be playing a cat and mouse game trying to regularly see your children.
We have seen this happen many times and Child Support America receives tons of emails concerning this issue. It’s also important to know that you do not have to hire an attorney to obtain court ordered visitation! You can file a motion to the courts yourself, sometimes even for free. The exception to this rule is if you have a complicated situation. If this is the case, you may need legal representation to straighten things out.
Nevertheless, you have the right to have a continuous relationship with your kids. Our recommendation is that you go through the courts and obtain legal paperwork to avoid problems down the line. This is simply some basic information to help dads establish their fathers rights.
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