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Paternal rights crucial to relationship with children

Compared to the traditional ways of times gone by, fathers are becoming more and more involved in the raising of their children. In most cases, parents and children alike view this evolution of family relationships as a positive thing. In the case of divorce, child custody, and paternal rights in New Jersey, though, it can make legal challenges more complicated.

In the past, women often had the advantage when it came to child custody but that is beginning to change. Family law courts are beginning to recognize the importance a father plays in the life of his children, and are responding in a more gender-neutral manner than they did in the past. However, paternal rights can be complicated and laws vary from state to state.

A recent court decision in Michigan may be interesting to those who wish to establish paternity and start or maintain their relationship with children. A man who claims a boy born in 2011 is his son was denied the ability to establish paternity rights because the mother of the child was married to another man when the baby was born.

The baby's purported biological father was engaged to the mother at the time of conception, but the engagement was later called off and the mother married another man, her former husband, before the child was born. In the summary of the appeals court decision, one judge wrote that if two married people decide not to investigate the paternity of a child born during their marriage, a potential father lacks the right to intervene in that decision.

Since paternity laws differ from state to state, it is important for those involved in a paternity case to determine their rights under the law. A legal professional skilled in family law can help determine what rights fathers and mothers have in regards to paternity and child custody. As emotions can run high with these personal situations, it may be important to have a third party to offer guidance on such further matters as parenting time and visitation rights.

Source: NECN.com, "No parental rights for man after mom married," Ed White, Sep. 13, 2013

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