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Beyond Grilling: New Fathers' Rights Section

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By Peter Clarke, JD on June 16, 2015 3:55 PM

When it comes to parenting, it's generally assumed that fathers have the easy role to play. What's the worst thing that can happen to a father? If your answer is "a grilling accident" or "a spectator sports injury," you're only partly correct.

The updated Fathers' Rights section at FindLaw is dedicated to helping fathers navigate the wide range of legal issues they may face while raising children. Important issues covered by the section include family planning, child custody, child visitation, and adoption rights.

Led by editor Corey Licht, the Core Content team began working on the Fathers' Rights section in early March. The majority of the content was built out within a few weeks. Although the topic of fathers' rights is controversial to many consumers, Corey and his team enjoyed the chance to offer a detailed, even-handed perspective that focused on the major legal issues.

Fathers' Rights Before Birth

The updated fathers' rights section includes topics that are rarely addressed: what rights does a father have before the child is born? Here's an overview of the section:

If fathers want to be involved in the prenatal healthcare process, they need to obtain consent from the mother. This illustrates a fairly general rule with most family law issues: the mother generally has the first say.

The same holds true for fathers' rights and abortion: a woman can decide to keep or terminate a pregnancy with or without the consent of the father. Even if a father doesn't give consent, the mother can still terminate a pregnancy based. This rule is founded upon a woman's right to privacy concerning medical decisions that affect her own body. The Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey even determined that fathers don't have a legal right to be notified when his partner has an abortion.

Fathers' Rights After Birth

After a child's birth, the most difficult legal issues involve custody and visitation disputes. Regardless of whether or not the parents are married, both biological parents have a legal right to seek custody and visitation of their child. Fathers who aren't married will first be required to prove paternity through measures such as DNA testing.

After a father shows paternity, he will need to establish a parenting agreement with the mother. Any disputes with the agreement will be settled by the court. For custody and visitation issues, the court will emphasize the best interest of the child. If you're able to provide your child with a stable home and access to a good school, then you'll have a strong chance of securing the custody and visitation rights you want.

Legal Forms for Fathers' Rights

In addition to providing legal information for fathers, the FindLaw fathers' rights section has also been updated with access to important legal forms. For example, you can find state-specific paternity forms and prenuptial agreement forms.

We hope you find our new and updated content useful. Happy Father's Day.

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