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Common Misconceptions About A Father's Rights In Terms Of Family Law

Fathers often miss out when it comes to gaining visitation rights for their children, but it is not always the family court's fault. In many cases, prevalent misconceptions get in the way. Take a look at a few misconceptions regarding fathers' rights to have time with their children and family law. 

Misconception: Your rights can be withheld if you fall behind on child support. 

Child support payments should be made, but if you fall behind, you still have a right to visit your child. The two family law areas are treated as separate factors. The other parent cannot legally prevent you from having court-ordered visitation time simply due to non-payment. 

Misconception: Your rights to visitation are up to the child and not you. 

Many fathers assume if their child states they prefer to stay with their mother or other parent that they will not have a chance to get visitation rights or shared custody in court. However, the child's opinion on preferred custody is rarely the only deciding factor. In many cases, the child's opinion is not considered in the case because children can naturally feel more attached to one parent or the other with no real merit for the opinion. 

Misconception: A father does not have the same rights as a mother. 

This myth is rooted in some fact, but it is not true in modern times. Historically, family court systems seemed to favor mothers over fathers. In other words, a mother would be more likely to get full custody or be in control of visitation. Today, the family law system is much fairer for both mothers and fathers. The judge will look at a number of factors with both parents before deciding on custody cases. And, there is almost always a reasonable effort made to keep both parents in the child's life for as close to an equal amount of time as possible. 

Misconception: Giving up your rights means you won't pay child support. 

In the event you are struggling because you have to pay child support, avoid falling for this misconception. Even if you choose to give up full custody to the child's other parent, you will still be expected to pay child support. The only thing you can effectively relinquish is your right to visitation. Child support is a different area of family law and is often mandated by state agencies even if the father is not in the child's life. 

Contact a family law attorney to learn more.