Fathers’ rights are rights that men have to be parents to their children. They allow a man to exercise parental control over his children and take an active role in their lives. The United States is facing a broken family epidemic as children are growing up without involved fathers. Divorce or separation does not have to mean separation from the children. As long as the children are not in danger physically or emotionally, they need their dads.
It is in a child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents. The adults in the relationship have a responsibility to work together to accomplish this. Even if they can’t get along, parents need to stand united on this front – for the kids. It is important that both parents understand their rights as well as their former partner’s rights.
If you believe that your rights as a father are being threatened or violated, turn to the team at Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC in South Jordan. Our fathers’ rights lawyers can serve as your voice and help you regain and exercise your parental rights.
Fathers’ Custody Rights
Custody rights are divided into two parts: physical and legal. Physical custody determines where the child lives, while legal custody determines who makes important decisions about the child regarding healthcare, education, and other issues.
Most of the time, the courts determine that joint legal custody is in the best interest of the child. The only time this is not the case is when a parent’s environment is not deemed safe, such as when there is domestic violence or drug use.
The types of custody arrangements that Utah courts recognize include:
- Joint physical and joint legal
- Sole physical and joint legal
- Sole physical and sole legal
- Split custody
If the parents agree to any type of joint custody – whether it is legal, physical, or both – they must create a parenting plan and file it with the court for approval. This is done to ensure that the custody arrangement and parenting plan are in the child’s best interests.
Paternity is simply fatherhood. Establishing paternity means naming the father so he is legally recognized. This is most common when an unmarried woman gives birth to a child. In that case, the biological father does not have any legal rights or duties that come with being a father, unlike a married couple where the legal rights are automatically assigned.
Under Utah law, the mother, father, child, or state can legally establish the father’s paternity. When this occurs, the unmarried parents are afforded the same rights that a married couple would have then they have a child.
Fathers’ Visitation Rights
In Utah, visitation is referred to as “parent time.” This is the time that the non-custodial parent gets to spend with the child. If the parents are not able to create an acceptable schedule for parent time, Utah law provides a schedule that is based on the minimum time limits. The court can also order a parent time schedule if necessary.
Custodial interference occurs when one parent attempts to keep the child or children from the other parent who is entitled to visitation. This may include hiding the child, enticing them, taking the child away from the parent, or withholding the child and denying visitation. In the state of Utah, custodial interference is a misdemeanor.
Parental alienation is when one parent says or expresses a negative attitude that turns the children against their other parent. It is a serious issue that often requires therapy for the child and parents.
If you are a father and suspect you are the victim of parental alienation, you do not need to face this situation on your own. You should immediately find a trusted Salt Lake County fathers’ rights attorney and begin action to repair the parent-child relationship.
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