Once paternity is proved, both parents will be treated equally in court. There will be no preference given to either the father or the mother, and custody will be awarded solely on the child's best interests. Either parent may be granted exclusive custody, or the court may provide joint custody to both parents. In any case, it is important for you to understand that even if one parent is not physically present with the child, he or she can still have a significant role in the child's life.
If you are the parent who does not have custody of the child, but would like to have visitation rights, a judge will determine what type of visitation is in the best interest of the child. This could be weekly visits with two hours each way by car, or monthly visits with four hours over three days. The decision is up to the judge and depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
Custody cases are very fact-specific and therefore cannot be fully predicted in advance. The only certainty is that whatever custody order is made by the court will be reviewed by the court at least once a year, more often if there has been a change of circumstance. If your partner is the parent who does not have custody, then he or she should be made a part of the proceedings and given an opportunity to be heard by the judge.
If the mother is married at the time the kid is born, the husband is legally deemed the child's father, and paternity does not need to be legally established. There are two methods for establishing paternity: A paternity affidavit can be signed by both the mother and father. A paternity lawsuit can be brought to court.
The court will need to confirm paternity before issuing any orders governing the kid's connection with their father, particularly a child support order. When an unmarried couple has a child, the father's paternity must be established as soon as the kid is born.
So, if no custody order has been granted by a court, the mother of the child enjoys legal custody of that kid. Even if the father signs the birth certificate or a paternity declaration, the woman retains legal custody unless a judge orders otherwise. If the father wants to be considered as being involved in the child's life, he can request visitation rights or ask to be given notice of any important events such as school plays and sports competitions.
In other words, even if you are not legally required to support a child, if you want to have a say in their life then you should include them on your insurance policy, pay your share of medical bills and use your best efforts to find them employment when they are old enough. The more involved you are, the better off you will be.
There are cases where men will claim paternity despite not having any legal obligation to support the child. For example, if the mother was married to another man when she got pregnant, then the father of the baby may not agree to support it even though he knows he is responsible for bringing up the child. He might believe that he would be shirking his duty if he agreed to help raise the child.
In this case, the mother's husband would need to file for divorce to avoid being forced to support the child.