Spanish and Arabic translation available | 

What to Know About Paternity and Fathers’ Rights in New Jersey

If you would like to learn more about paternity and fathers’ rights in New Jersey, it is in your best interest to reach out to Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark today. Our Morris County, New Jersey child custody attorneys are here to help you.

Are men’s and women’s child custody and visitation rights equal?

After legal paternity has been established, fathers have equal legal status with the child’s mother when it comes to child custody and visitation rights. But, it is important to recognize that all child custody rulings in New Jersey are decided based on what the courts consider to be in the best interest of the child or children.

Essentially, this means that while child custody courts are gender-neutral, or gender blind, in some instances, they may not award equal custody to both parents. This is because child custody determinations are established through various “best interest” factors, all of which are dependent on interpretation and discretion by the court. That is why it is critical to have a skilled New Jersey child custody attorney on your side when dealing with a divorce, paternity matter, or other child custody issue.

What are paternity and fathers’ rights?

A father is not able to obtain visitation and custody rights unless he is legally recognized as a child’s father. The state of New Jersey allows paternity to automatically be granted to fathers in the event that:

  • The father was married to the mother at some point 10 months prior to the birth of the child
  • The father is married to the mother at the time of birth
  • A mother can also give paternity rights to a father at the time of the child’s birth if both parents sign a “Certificate of
  • Parentage.” This is a voluntary document and neither party is forced to sign at any time.

It is important to understand that there are several instances where there is no Certificate of Parentage and automatic paternity is not granted by the state. If this occurs, for a father to be accorded their parental rights as a father of a child, they will need to bring a “Paternity Action” to the New Jersey Family Court. If there is sufficient cause, a judge will order a genetic test to decide the paternity of the child.

After a father has been granted paternity, they are able to seek legal rights involving child custody, visitation, and child support. Reach out to our skilled Morris County, New Jersey child custody attorneys.


At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, LLC, our seasoned divorce and family law attorneys ensure that through the process of resolving your family matter, you feel empowered, not overwhelmed. Providing unwavering support, undivided attention, and unflinching advocacy, our team invests in your cause, working tirelessly to pave your path toward a brighter tomorrow. If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.