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What rights do fathers have before birth?

Most fathers don't think about the rights they have over their child before it's born. However, decisions made pre-birth can have a substantial effect on the life of your baby. As such, some fathers may want to play a part in decisions that apply to medical testing, medical procedures, and other issues during pregnancy. Disagreements can arise over these decisions, and it's not unheard of for a father to try to assert his opinions in court.

When a father tries to control health-related decisions during pregnancy, however, he may find that it's next to impossible. Most courts, after all, will grant mothers the authority to make their health care decisions while they are pregnant. This may not be the case if the mother is engaging in drug or alcohol abuse.

Since drug and alcohol abuse can lead to serious health problems for an unborn child, a Nebraska family law court may interpret substance problems during pregnancy to be child abuse. In these instances, a pregnant mother could face arrest for "habitual lack of self-control" -- especially if the substance abuse places the life of the unborn child at risk. In rare circumstances, a father might be able to bring charges against the mother of his child if her behavior could hurt the fetus. A father could also use this behavior as evidence to obtain full custody of his child following birth.

Omaha fathers with questions about their pre-birth parental rights should discuss their situations with a Nebraska family law attorney. Once a lawyer reviews the facts surrounding your parental rights issue, he or she can offer guidance on how you may want to navigate the matter.

Source: FindLaw, "Fathers' Rights Before Birth," accessed June 15, 2017

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