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What Rights Do I Have as a Father After a Divorce in New Jersey?

When parents enter a divorce case, their biggest concern is often the custody of their child. During this time, there are many misconceptions that a child’s mother is awarded custody more often than a father. However, it is important for fathers to know that they are just as entitled to parental rights as a mother. With the assistance of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney, fathers can fight for their rights to their child. 

What are Father’s Rights?

The first step in ensuring that you have rights to your child is to prove that you are, in fact, the child’s father. Certain individuals may be automatically granted paternity while others have to fight in order to establish it. It is important to know that if you were married to the child’s mother in the 10-month period before the child was born, you are given automatic paternity. There are also some cases in which parents sign a Certificate of Parentage when the child is born. This is also acceptable proof of paternity in order to obtain rights to your child. 

In the event that you are not automatically granted paternity in your case, you must bring a Paternity Action to the Family Court. A judge can then order a genetic test to determine whether or not you are the child’s parent. If it is determined that you are, you will officially be granted legal rights to your child. This includes child custody, child support, and visitation rights.

Types of Custody in New Jersey

There are different types of custody that a father can be awarded depending on their case. Physical custody is in regard to where your child lives and spends the majority of their time. Legal custody refers to the influence you are allowed to have in making decisions regarding the upbringing of your child. It is crucial that you fight for legal custody at the very least. This is because it allows you to be a part of important moments in your child’s life, such as their healthcare matters, schooling, religion, and more. 

How Do Courts Determine Custody?

Matters of great importance, such as custody, are taken under great consideration by a judge. Ultimately, the court is required to act in the best interest of the child. Exactly what is in their best interest can be determined by the following factors:

  • Your relationship with your child
  • Your relationship with your former spouse
  • If you are seeking custody with honest intentions
  • The stability you can provide your child
  • Your child’s needs
  • Your child’s preference if they are of sufficient age

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through a divorce matter, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.