Southaven Family Law Attorneys Asserting Fathers’ Rights to Child Custody and Visitation
Providing strong advocacy for families in and near Southaven, Olive Branch, Hernando since 1964
When a couple is married and they have a child together, the father is presumed to be the child’s father and he automatically enjoys all of the rights, privileges and responsibilities that fatherhood brings. In Mississippi, when a couple who is not married has a child together, the mother automatically has sole custody of the child. The father can only claim those rights that he asserts. If the child’s father would like to have shared custody of the child, he must establish paternity.
The family law attorney team at Taylor Jones Taylor understands how important it is for a man to feel a deep, bonded, connection to his child. The firm helps unmarried fathers in Southaven, Olive Branch and Hernando assert their parental rights to custody and visitation of their children in Mississippi.
Asserting fatherhood is your right
The Mississippi Department of Human Services administers a paternity program called, A Simple Acknowledgement of Paternity (ASAP). This cleverly named program helps parents establish paternity in the hospital when the child is born, or through the State Department of Health. Completing this process establishes paternity, allows the fathers’ name to appear on the birth certificate, and initiates his obligation to support the child financially. MS Code § 93-9-28 (2014)
While the mother is still in the hospital, both parents can sign an, “Acknowledgement of Paternity” form, which can be filed along with the child’s birth certificate. If an unmarried father wants to assert his paternity rights after the mother has left the hospital with the child, he can contact the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
In cases where the establishment of paternity is involuntary, as in cases where the mother names a man as the father of her child, but the man denies that he is the father, the mother must file a petition with the court that has jurisdiction over the matter.
When it comes to asserting fatherhood rights, establishing paternity is just the first step. Next he will have to pursue how to pursue custody and visitation. Taylor Jones Taylor is ready to help fathers exercise their right to spend time with their children and to influence their upbringing.
Deciding on a child custody agreement
The next step after a man establishes paternity of a child is to establish the terms of custody. The father can then file a petition with the court seeking to establish a custody agreement with the child’s mother. The courts tend to err on the side of joint custody as this gives both parents equal opportunity to have contact with the child. The court will weigh a host of factors when determining residential custody of the child including each parent’s ability to care for the child, parents’ work obligations, the child’s age, the health of parents and child, the child’s emotional bond with each parent, the moral behavior of the parents, history of drug or alcohol abuse, the child’s preference if they are 12 years or older, the parents’ ability to provide a stable home environment and any history of abuse or violence.
If you are an unmarried father who wishes to establish paternity of your child and pave the way for shared custody and a consistent visitation schedule, the Southaven family law attorneys at Taylor Jones Taylor can help you make that happen. The firm can work with you and the child’s mother to develop a parenting plan agreement that maps out the visitation schedule and all of the other details in the custody order.
Empowering fathers to establish a relationship with their child
Having a child out of wedlock can create many complications when it comes time for you to assert your rights as a father. At Taylor Jones Taylor, we are ready to be strong advocates for you and they will fight to protect your rights to see your child. Please call 662-342-1300, or fill out this contact form to schedule a consultation to discuss your child custody goals. The firm represents clients in Southaven, Olive Branch, Hernando, Horn Lake, Walls, Senatobia, and Coldwater. How can we help you today?