FATHERS RIGHTS AND DADS RIGHTS – Alabama Child Custody Divorce Law
GADSDEN CHILD CUSTODY LAW AND THE RECOGNITION OF FATHERS RIGHTS
ALABAMA CHILD CUSTODY LAW AND YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO HAVE A MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILDREN
Fathers, like all parents, have a constitutional right under Alabama child custody law to a relationship with their child. Likewise minor children have a complementary fundamental right to free association with their parents, including their father.
Alabama child custody law, as set out the Alabama Code states that the public policy of the State of Alabama is to foster the parent/child relationship. Consistent with that policy, the State, through its court system should not intrude on these constitutional rights any more than is absolutely necessary to protect a compelling state interest such as protecting a child from harm. Under Alabama child custody law, a court is obligated to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child. Also, a court must balance the rights of the parents with the child’s best interests to fashion a visitation award that is tailored to the specific facts and circumstances of the individual case.
Under Alabama child custody law, an Alabama court may impose restrictions on custody or visitation in order to protect children from conduct, conditions, or circumstances surrounding their noncustodial parent that endanger the children’s health, safety, or well-being. However, an Alabama divorce court may not use an overbroad restriction that does more than necessary to protect the children.
Dani Bone & Sam Bone have represented individuals who have had their visitation restricted or even cut off by a court order. We have fought hard for our clients right to see their children and to build a strong relationship with their children. Sometimes it is a tough road and a long road to winning back a parent’s rights to be a part of their children’s lives. But with perseverance and the application of sound legal arguments well made before courts across Alabama, we have managed to gain success for our clients.
ALABAMA CHILD CUSTODY LAW AND THE RIGHTS OF UNMARRIED FATHERS
In recent times, births to unmarried parents has accounted for a significant percentage of overall births. Because of this there has been an increase of births to unmarried parents has led to an increased focus on the fathers of these children. Referred to as alleged, presumed, reputed, or putative fathers, many of them seek recognition of their legal rights and expanded roles in raising their children.
Historically, unmarried fathers have had fewer rights with regard to their children than either unwed mothers or married parents. As noted above, the U.S. Supreme Court has established that there are constitutional protections of such a father’s parental rights. Enforcing those rights allows an unmarried father the opportunity to establish a substantial relationship, which it defined as the father’s commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood, as demonstrated by being involved or attempting to be involved in the child’s upbringing.
Alabama law contains a number of provisions regarding the establishment of paternity, the legitimization of children of unmarried parents, and the establishment of a child / parent relationship outside of marriage and divorce.
Men in Alabama often assume that, since their name appears on the birth certificate of a child, they have the legal rights of a father. But that's not automatically true. Alabama automatically recognizes the husband as father of any child born to a married couple. Unmarried couples must often prove who is the father, generally through DNA tests, to obtain the legal status of father.
Children are then entitled to these benefits through the father:
- Child Support
- Health insurance
- Social Security and welfare
- Veteran's benefits
- Inheritance rights
Contesting and Establishing Paternity
Paternity cases take two different forms: establishing paternity and contesting it. In cases of establishing paternity, the father seeks to prove he is the father and assume rights and responsibilities for the child. In cases of contesting paternity, the mother is suing the alleged father to prove he is the father of the child.
In order for unmarried fathers to have paternity rights and responsibilities for a child, paternity must be legally established.
Protecting Your Rights
Dani Bone & Sam Bone are dedicated to protecting the rights of fathers. If you are a father who is in a dispute with your child's mother, you have rights, even if the child was born out of wedlock. There are three ways to establish paternity in Alabama:
- Uncontested consent. The mother and father both agree to the paternity of the child and fill out an acknowledgement of paternity form. Ideally, this form should be offered to every unwed mother when she gives birth.
- Administrative process. The Department of Human Resources orders genetic testing of a child to determine the child's paternity.
- Contested judicial process. This can be used to get genetic testing when the alleged father refuses to acknowledge paternity or when parents are uncooperative with administrative genetic testing.
Paternity Rights Attorney for Alabama
Once paternity has been established through the assumption of marriage or through an acknowledgement of paternity form, it can be contested through genetic testing. Once a man has established he is not the father of a child, he will lose all paternity rights to that child. If he wishes to restore his rights to the child, it would be necessary for him to adopt the child.
DNA Testing in Alabama
As a father, you have rights that are proportional to your responsibilities for the child. These rights deserve to be protected. Dani Bone & Sam Bone can protect your rights and help you get past the emotional storms of the present so you can again enjoy the light in your child's eyes.
To learn more about paternity rights and to discuss your case with one of our lawyers, please call 256-547-1005 today for a free consultation.