Arguing for paternity is not how fathers expect to be recognized. Many hope that a marriage will be enough, and some do not expect to become fathers at all. But the struggle can seem monumental when you sit down and consider all the forms and requirements.
Nebraska, like many other states, tries to simplify the process in the interest of fairness. For example, the Cornhusker State uses the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) to guide its courts’ custody decisions. This federal law makes expectations for paternity suits rather predictable.
Courts need to work out physical and legal custody in cases when a father or mother files a suit. Physical custody has more to do with where a child lives and spends time, although visitation affects this if one parent has full physical custody. Legal custody involves important decisions in a child’s life, and a parent without physical custody may still have rights in this case.
A judge will consider many factors in determining these cases, including the parents’ availability due to work and other responsibilities. Although they are not necessarily going to guide decisions, the preferences of a child and any of the child’s previous established relationship may also matter.
Fathers should always consider their rights to custody, visitation and other issues related to children. Mothers may get physical custody much of the time, but this is not a foregone conclusion. An attorney can help examine a family’s case and help work out the best strategy for a father to be a large and important part of a child’s life.