As a Nebraska father, one of the most important things in your life is your children. You want to do everything possible to protect their best interests, and this includes making sure you have regular access to them. It is often challenging for Nebraska fathers who are unmarried to gain custody and visitation, but you have the right to fight for your relationship with your kids. Often, the first step in this process is determining paternity.
It is not always necessary to establish paternity in order to seek custody and visitation. However, if you and the mother of your child were not married at the time your child was born, this could be a necessary step if you want access to your child. Establishing paternity is a process that verifies you are the biological parent of your child, therefore giving you the right to a relationship and active role in his or her life.
The process of establishing paternity
The mother of your child may understand and acknowledge your rights as the father. In this case, establishing paternity may be as simple as both parties signing an acknowledgement of paternity form and filing it with the state. In disputed paternity cases, the issue of legally establishing parentage is more complex. If you are facing a potentially complicated custody and visitation battle, the following facts may be useful for you:
- After establishing paternity, it may be possible for two parents to negotiate the terms of a custody and visitation schedule.
- Any negotiated custody and visitation plan is subject to court approval before it takes effect.
- As a father, you may also have the right to have a say in important decisions that affect your child, known as legal custody.
- Visitation and custody rights may depend on other factors besides paternity, such as allegations of drug abuse, neglect and more.
There is evidence that children who have regular contact with both parents have better mental and emotional health. Even if you were never married to the mother of your child, you still have the right to play an important role in the life of your child. Dads who have concerns about how to secure and maintain access, as well as decision-making rights for their kids, may find it helpful to start by learning more about paternity and how that could affect their individual case.