Rockville Father’s Rights Lawyer

From the moment your child is born, the two of you share a strong bond. Your right to spend time with your child and play a vital role in their upbringing is protected by state law. In some situations, such as custody and paternity actions, your rights could be challenged.

If you want to be involved in your child’s life, are concerned about protecting your parental rights, or have questions about establishing paternity, a Rockville father’s rights lawyer can help. An experienced family attorney can zealously advocate on your behalf and protect your relationship with your child.

Establishing Paternity in Rockville

One of the critical steps in solidifying a father’s relationship with a child is to establish paternity. If a married couple has a child, the mother’s husband is presumed to be the child’s legal father. If the mother is unmarried when the child is born, determining paternity may be necessary.

Affidavit of Paternity

Establishing paternity is a legal process that ensures that the child’s biological father is also the child’s legal father and that the father’s name is added to the child’s birth certificate. For a child born out of wedlock, Maryland Code Annotated Family Law Article §5-1028 allows the parents to sign an Affidavit of Parentage confirming that the man is the child’s biological and legal father. The affidavit is a legally binding document and very difficult to invalidate.

Contested Paternity Actions

If the mother and alleged father do not agree on paternity, either one of them may file a paternity action. A lawyer for the Child Support Enforcement Agency could also initiate a case if the mother is requesting child support and has identified a possible father. A judge may order DNA testing for the father and the child and, if there is a genetic match, issue a final paternity order.

Once paternity is established, a father may assert his right to custody and visitation with the child. A lawyer in Rockville can guide a father through the process and ensure that he is appropriately identified as the legal father and named on the child’s birth certificate, therefore protecting his rights.

Custody and Visitation

If the parents are not going to reside together and cannot agree on how to share time with their child, a judge could decide their child’s custody. In any custody or visitation case, the court must prioritize a child’s best interests and create a custody schedule that meets the child’s physical and emotional needs. A father has equal rights with the mother to petition the court for physical and legal custody, depending on the particular facts of the case, the father could be awarded sole or primary custody. A father’s rights attorney can explain the different custody arrangements and present the client’s case in court.

Child Support in Fathers’ Cases

While both mothers and fathers are legally responsible for financially supporting their children, a man facing a paternity claim, or an unreasonable child support demand could be liable for a significant amount of child support. A father’s rights lawyer could ensure that if the father does owe child support, it is calculated correctly under the Maryland Child Support Guidelines.

In cases where a father is awarded sole or primary physical custody, and the child resides primarily with him, the mother may be required to pay child support. A father could use the child support enforcement agency’s services to collect the support of the mother who refuses to pay. A father could also ask a court to hold a mother in contempt for nonpayment and issue sanctions against her, including requiring her to reimburse the father for his legal fees. An effective attorney in Rockville can navigate these issues and help a father protect his rights through enforcing a child support order.

Rockville Father’s Rights Attorneys Can Help

Many fathers may not know the extent of their rights and responsibilities regarding their children. In these cases, a Rockville father’s rights lawyer may be an invaluable resource, both in and out of the courtroom. A seasoned attorney can initiate a custody and child support proceeding on your behalf or represent you in a paternity action. Get started on your case today.