Are Father’s Rights the Same as Mother’s?

Father’s rights advocates have been fighting to make sure that father’s rights are equal to a mothers parenting rights. States have different laws regarding father’s rights to parenting and visitation. These laws are not set in stone and in some states, they are changing. Fathers should keep abreast of the developments because these may affect their rights to see and care for their children. A father’s rights lawyer can help fathers decipher the complex wording used in many legal statutes and regulations.

Recent Father’s Rights Laws

Michigan is just one of several states in which legal changes regarding father’s rights have been proposed. Earlier in 2012, a series of bills were introduced to change a law in effect since 1956. The standing law stated that a child born to a married mother was considered a product of the marriage even if the father of the child was not the husband of the mother. The bills recognizing the rights of the biological father were recently approved by the governor of Michigan.

Passing of the Michigan bill is one step toward father’s equal custody rights. For three years, one father in Arizona has been trying to make the same changes within his state. Mike Espinoza successfully fought to change a state custody law in 2010. He did not stop there, helping to pass another law that goes into effect in January 2013, which requires Arizona courts to adopt parenting plans that maximize the time of both parents with their children. Father’s rights advocates are not only just the attorneys that fight for them, but the people that need help as well.

In Florida and Texas, non-custodial parents (who are typically the fathers) are now entitled to approximately 40 percent of parenting time. Legislation that would provide both parents with a minimum of 35 percent of parenting time is being considered in Illinois, home to one of the biggest father’s rights advocates in the country. In states like Oregon, father’s rights are viewed as equal to those of mothers in terms of child custody.

Legislature in Minnesota passed a bill earlier this year to provide at least 35 percent of parenting time to non-custodial parents, which, again, is frequently the father. Unfortunately, this bill was ultimately vetoed by the state governor. However, this has not stopped groups like the American Coalition for Fathers and Children for fighting for father’s rights to spend time with their children.

For many years, decision-makers in child custody cases have been awarding mothers the primary care giving roles. Though they agreed that fathers should have roles in the lives of their children, the amount of involvement was not considered. This is where father’s rights is being fought for, when issues like this are not properly considered. States like Michigan and Arizona are leading the way in changing this. They are moving the country toward father’s equal custody rights that so many fathers have long requested. Learning about what father’s rights you may have is an important step in fighting for your children! Many father’s rights lawyers offer free consultations, like we do here!

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About the Author
Nicholas Baker is a practicing family law attorney with over a decade of experience handling divorce, child custody, child support, and domestic violence matters in the courtroom. Attorney Nicholas Baker believes in providing family law information for individuals so that they can make an informed decision about their own family law matter.
  1. Damien Hudgins Reply

    I am a new father. My son is 9 months old. I need help. His mother took me to court for support when my son was a little older than a month. We went to court when he was exactly 2 months and 3 days old. She has threatens to take me back to court for more money. Now here is were this is not okay: My sons mother works a 12 hour shift becasue she is a Philadelphia Fire Department Paramedic. I Pick my son up from day care on the days that she has to work. I Keep him on weekends that she has to work an when she calls at the last minute I keep him. I am paying 440.00 a month in child support and I take care of my son. Not to mention that she make almost two times what I make Yearly. Now she is taking me back to court to get more money because I refuse to work around her Schedule. Can someone tell me why i am payin her when I pretty much to the same things that she does? I Pay my payments on time and when he is with me at my home I buy everything that he needs and sometimes I provide pampers and formula when she doesn’t have it. I am struggling to pay my bills and take care of myself. What do I do? I feel like she it taking advantage of me and she is using the courts to get me to do what she wants me to do. PLEASE HELP….

    • Nicholas Baker Reply

      Pennsylvania uses an “income shares” model of child support, which means it takes both parents income into account along with the amount of time each of you spends with the child. If it is actually a 50/50 time sharing with your child and she makes twice what you earn, then child support should be modified and you should be paying less. Speak with one of our Philadelphia attorneys right away.

  2. Jk Reply

    How does it seem fair for a man who had a one night stand with a girl who said she couldnt have childern becomes pregnant has baby 5 years later thinking man had a fortune wants child support? The man never gets to decide as a woman does to have child or adopt child whats with the laws on that? He did not want any more kids and told her that up front, she still persues child support and lives in another State taking advantage of State funds. The man doesnt want a relationship with child and has no intentions of having custody what can this man do? Where are his rights to choose to have a child,adopt or whatever else? She chose that responsibility to keep him…the man was just a “sperm donner” in reality. He dosen’t and wont raise another child He already has three. So he is going yo get a lawyer to modify his support cause she claimed he had expendable income he has a 3,000.00 a month in rearage of almost 125,000. total with interest with which she had child I believe here Calif. but she is now believed to have moved to Michigan what does he do?

    • Family Law Advice Reply

      Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done regarding making a decision for a woman whether she has a baby or gives it up for adoption. The courts follow the belief that if you made a decision to engage in actions that could cause someone to become pregnant, you have to live with the end result of possibly having a child. The best advice we can give you is to set up child support because if you don’t pay, the state will, and then the state will come after you to recover their money. Hiring an attorney where ever the initial support order was entered is essential.

  3. Josef Riano Reply

    I’ve been recently separated due to her ..infidelity. She always threats to not let me see the kids we share custody Mon , Wed are her days and Tues , Thurs my days and every other Fri and weekend we get we have not filed anything legally yet. So she did not let them sleep over last knight so we can wake up together on Father’s Day and she has not let me see them at all today much less talk to them or even know where they are at I’m in Miami fl what rights as a father do I have. Please help me thank you

    • familylawrights Reply

      Father’s rights are the same as a mothers rights. You deserve to see your children and you deserve to have a set schedule to do so. Attorneys that specialize in child custody matters will help work with you to file a Petition for Temporary and Permanent Visitation and attempt to enter a visitation/parenting agreement so that your rights are not violated again.

  4. Domanick Stahl Reply

    I need help in getting my 2 1/2 year old twin boys back. The mother moved to Missouri two months ago and left the boys with me. we came to a written agreement on visitation and had it noterized before she left. She was gone for 4 weeks and came to get the boys for 2 weeks then brought them back and this time I had them for 3 weeks before she came to get them for her 2 week visit. She since said they were not mine and I need to get a test done before I can see them. Plus her father says I need to go thru him now because he has gained custody of the boys and he is now calling the shots. Can a mother sign her rights away without the fathers nolige? I live in Ar. and have no idea where to go from here!!!! Please help! I miss my sons and have no idea how to pay for a lawyer or where to start filing so I can see my boys.

    we were never married. But i have been in the boys life since day 1. I have my name on their birthcertificates and dont understand how someone else can gain custody of them without contacting me first.. Please tell me there is hope for me getting my boys back to where they grew up and have the love ones that have been around them all their lives.

    • familylawrights Reply

      If your name is on the birth certificate, this is a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, and your father’s rights to custody need to be protected. You have no time to waste, you have to get started now. Your ex-girlfriend is not allowed to give custody to her father, your rights are more important than his,and if she has tried to do this, that type of behavior is exactly what a judge will use to determine who the better parent is. Father’s rights lawyers will fight for you and will help you understand the role between grandparents and parents and who has the rights in the situation.

  5. the"brainless father"N.M Reply

    Well i come to u asking for the very needed help ok we got divorced in 2000 when i happend to have gotten a t.b.i which is a very bad brain injury which by the grace of god i dont have the same limitations as i have seen in other tbi patients but my ex continues to try and get sole custody by using my tbi against me which is a dirty move we have had joint custody for awhile now but since then she has remarried and continues to pursue sole custody i havent discussed this with my son who is turning 12 this year he continues to strive as far as i can see which is not alot she has continued to avoid the parenting plan we set up when we first started it i have never and dont want her out of his life like she seems to want me from his life i just obtained a lawyer who is providing me his services pro bono since i cant afford which she knows a lawyer i just really need advice on where to go from here?

    • familylawrights Reply

      Well, if you have an attorney already, the best advice you can get is from that individual, since they obviously have so many more details than we do. However, if your ex is violating your parenting agreement, she is violating a court order and can be held in contempt. Filing a petition for rule to show cause and for civil contempt and get the father’s rights that you deserve! Good luck, father’s rights to visitation aren’t easy, but you deserve to see your children.

  6. david garner Reply

    I need help here my ex has my daughter and she live in ga and I was just wondering if I have to be watched while I visit my daughter I need help here plz

    • familylawrights Reply

      Sometimes judges ask that visitation be done in a a setting where a third-party is present throughout the process. This is known as “supervised visitation” and is common in a variety of situations. Sometimes, it is because a parent has done something that the court believes requires the extra safety of a third party until a parent can be trusted to be alone with the child. In other instances, supervised visitation is ordered for a time because the parent has not spent enough time with the child and this is usually just a temporary situation.

  7. Hope Kern Reply

    I NEED SOMEONE TO HERE MY VOICE THAT IS SCREAMING FOR SOMEONE WHOM CAN TELL ME HOW TO GET SOME HELP ……………..I GOT DIVORVICED IN THE YEAR OF 2003-TO MAKE ALONG STORY SHORT – I GOT VERY SICK -WHILE I WAS SICK MY EX- HUSBAND GOT VERY GREEDY AND WENT AND GOT SOME CHANGES MADE ON THE PARRENTING PLAN. BEHIND MY BACK AND WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE -FOUND OUT THAT SINCE 2003 HE WAS SUSPOSE TO BE GIVEING ME HALF OF THE INCOME TAX RETURN. HE DID IN THE YEAR OF 2003-2004-2005(FEW HUNDRED DOLLARS NOT HALF). THEN WHEN I HAD TO HAVE 14 SURGRIES ON MY KIDNEYS FOR STONES-AND A ROD PUT IN MY CHEST FOR A BROKEN STERUM-EX HUSBAND WENT BEHIND MY BACK AND HAD THESE CHANGES MADE-I HAVE NOT RECEIVED A RAISED IN 9 YEARS IN CHILD SUSPORT. INEED SOMEONE WHO WILL HELP ME-AND JUST BE FAIR IS ALL I AM ASKING…………….PLEASE CONTACT ME@ hopieevk69@gmail,com

    • familylawrights Reply

      If he willfully violated a court order or did not follow the proper steps to modify the agreement you initially signed, he may be held in contempt of court. File a Petition for Contempt for his failure to abide by the agreement that you two signed.

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