Those who have children understand the unbreakable, strong bond parents share with their children. This bond is so special that there are state laws in place to help protect it while also upholding the rights of both the parents and the child. For those Kansas family law issue cases that go to court, it has not been uncommon for mothers to see their rights honored more than fathers’ rights. Although this traditionally has been the case, more and more emphasis is placed on the role fathers play in a child’s life, and more importance has been placed on upholding fathers’ right when it comes to their children.
Effect of a Father in a Child’s Life
Mothers have most traditionally been regarded as the primary caregivers of children, acting as their nurturers, protectors, and supporters. While mothers are very effective in this role, it has also been acknowledged that fathers play an important role in children’s lives as well. Fathers are equally capable of caring for, nurturing, and supporting children while also acting as effective disciplinarians. Additionally, studies have shown that children with loving and supportive fathers in their lives have an easier time developing their language and social skills as well as doing better academically.
Establishing Paternity in Kansas
The most important step in upholding a Kansas father’s rights with his child is establishing him as the child’s legal and biological father. When a married couple has a child, it is automatically assumed the mother’s husband is both the child’s legal and biological father, and the parents need take no action to prove paternity further. However, when a couple is unmarried, establishing a child’s paternity can become more difficult, and the parents need to take additional steps in order for the child’s presumed father to be named the legal and biological father.
In the state of Kansas, there are two ways in which parents can establish a child’s paternity. The first and easiest way to accomplish this is by the parents signing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity or VAP form. When an unmarried couple arrives at a hospital or medical facility to deliver the child, they are presented with a VAP form. After reviewing the form in detail, both parents sign the form in the presence of a witness – this makes the male who signed the form the child’s legal and biological father. These forms are also available at physicians’ offices where newborn children are treated.
The second way for an unmarried couple to establish their child’s paternity is to ask the court to decide who the child’s legal and biological father is. A paternity action can be filed with the court by the child’s mother, the presumed father, the child him or herself with the help of a legal representative, and also by a government official. This case is held in the district court for the county in which one of the parties live. During this case, should any party request genetic or DNA testing, the court must order it to be completed, and everyone involved – mother, presumed father, and child – must participate.
The parties involved in the paternity action can settle the case at any time, or they have the option to take the case to trial. Should they take the case to trial, the judge is tasked with deciding whether or not the presumed father is actually the child’s legal and biological parent. Should the court find that he is, the judge issues a final paternity order, which means the child’s paternity is formally established, and the father’s name is added to the child’s birth certificate. Once this has been established, the court can make additional orders for child custody, child support, and a number of other matters.
There are a number of benefits in establishing a child’s paternity, and a number of these directly benefit the child’s father. By establishing the child’s legal and biological father, that father now has the right to seek child custody and visitation in a court of law. Additionally, the father now has the right to have a voice in important decision making processes regarding the child including medical care, education, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing. Most importantly, this gives the father and the child the right and opportunity to have a relationship with one another.
Father’s Rights to Child Custody and Visitation in Kansas
Should a couple with children decide to end their relationship, either by divorce or otherwise, they often need the help of the court system to decide child custody issues. When these types of cases are brought to Iowa state courts, the judge is guided by the “best interests of the child” standard when it comes to making important child custody and child support decisions. Under this guidance, judges are required to make custody orders and others in a manner that best supports and provides for the child, regardless of the desires of either the mother or the father.
The state of Iowa awards both legal and physical custody – legal custody is the right of a parent to be involved in decision making regarding the child’s upbringing, and physical custody is the right of a parent to have physical care of the child. Judges in this state prefer to award joint legal custody to both of the child’s parents unless the best interests of the child standard dictates a better arrangement. Additionally, state law does not dictate that infant or young children automatically be placed with the mother – again, the best interests of the child standard is used to determine physical custody.
Father’s Right to Child Support
In cases where the father is granted physical custody of the child under the best interests of the child standard, it is not uncommon for the mother to be ordered to pay child support. Child support is a financial payment to the child’s primary custodian to help pay for the child’s expenses including shelter, food, and clothing. Fathers who have been awarded physical custody have just as much of a right to collect child support as a mother in the same situation. Additionally, fathers have the same rights to help with child support enforcement from the Kansas Child Support Services office (CSS).
How Father’s Rights Lawyers Can Help
Kansas state law makes it very clear that both mothers and fathers have the same rights to a relationship and time with their children. While this is the case, it is not uncommon for fathers to not know or understand the rights they have, which often leads to an unfavorable court decision when it comes to child custody or child support. A lawyer who specializes in fathers’ rights for the state of Kansas can be an invaluable resource for fathers who find themselves facing a family court case. These professionals can help to explain a father’s rights and ensure these rights are upheld during the case.