A vast majority of divorced fathers want to remain actively involved with their children after their split. Even if they no longer have a good relationship with their children’s mother, they still want to be a parent to their children and be able to spend time with them. Unfortunately, many fathers don’t understand their rights where children are concerned and unfortunately, their rights are sometimes even overlooked by the courts. Although there isn’t supposed to be any gender bias that favors mothers over fathers in custody and child support matters, this is not always the case.
What Are a Father’s Rights, Exactly?
The rights of a father, not only during a custody dispute, but also during the child’s upbringing, are fairly simple and probably what you’d imagine they should be.
- Being able to spend time with his children
- Being involved in his children’s lives
- Having equal participation in parenting, including where they live, go to school, and church
- Having equal access to medical and school records
- Having equal say in medical decisions
- Having the ability to parent or discipline his children without interference from their mother
When a father wants equal rights to parent his children, then he must also equally share in all the responsibilities of raising those children, including financial support. All these rights hold true for mothers, as well. The problem is, mothers seem to less frequently have to worry about losing any of their rights. This brings up issues where mothers are consistently more likely to win full custody of the children. While fathers should also have an equal right to be the custodial parent of their children, this is not always the case.
Father’s Rights and Child Custody
- Although it’s clearly stated in many places that courts shouldn’t arbitrarily favor mothers over fathers, it apparently still happens quite frequently. On the U.S. Census Bureau’s own website on its About Child Support page, it still clearly states, “Child support can be important to custodial parents (mostly women) and their children as a source of income received, as well as to noncustodial parents (mostly men) who make payments to help pay for the costs associated with raising their children.”
- In the spring of 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that an estimated 13.7 million parents had custody over children whose other parent lived somewhere else. Of these custodial parents, only one in six were fathers, which is about 17.8%.
- Of the 17.8% of fathers who were custodial parents in 2010, 18.8% of them were living below poverty level. And, while there was a higher percentage of custodial mothers living below poverty, mothers were also less likely to be employed than custodial fathers and more likely to receive public assistance.
- While custodial mothers might intentionally interfere with a father’s visitation simply to punish him, according to Virginia laws on custody, intentional withholding of visitation without just cause could justify a change in the original custody agreement.
Father’s Rights and Child Support
- The U.S. Census Bureau reports that nearly half of the fathers without any visitation rights still financially support their children.
- According to data collected in 2014 by the U.S. Census Bureau, out of the 7,282 custodial parents who weren’t receiving child support, 1,128 of these were custodial mothers who said they didn’t want their child(ren) to have contact with their father.
- In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that only 28.8% of custodial fathers received child support either through an agreement or award; while 53.4% of custodial mothers received support.
Don’t Give Up! Hire a Top Father’s Rights Attorney
In Virginia, laws don’t favor either parent, but instead compare the relationship of each parent with the child(ren) to determine custody and visitation matters. However, any decisions made by the court aren’t considered final and could change due to many different circumstances. As a father, you should learn your rights and use these rights to build a stronger, unhampered relationship with your child(ren).
If you feel your rights as a father are being ripped away from you by a biased court system, The Firm For Men, located in Virginia Beach, can help protect your parental rights. We’re dedicated to providing you with the representation you need to keep you in your children’s lives, where you belong. Call us for a consultation at 757-383-9184 or contact us on the web.