Paré & Associates, LLC.
By: Paré & Associates, LLC.

Father’s Rights vs. Men’s Rights: What’s the Difference and Why it Matters in Maryland Custody Cases

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What Are Fathers’ Rights?

Men and women face unique life situations that call for distinct solutions, which explains the ongoing discussion about men’s and women’s rights. The case is the same in family courtrooms. However, family law focuses more on father’s rights than men’s rights in custody cases, given the special privileges for fathers.

Men’s rights lawyers in Montgomery County explain that for a man to exercise his father’s rights, they first need to be a father. However, just because you provide for the needs of a child doesn’t make you a father from a legal perspective. Maryland’s family law code outlines what rights fathers have when married and their rights when divorced.

Understanding fathers’ rights is crucial when fighting a custody battle. Consult skilled lawyers for legal counsel and representation to protect and uphold your rights throughout the proceedings and after.

What is the Legal Definition of a Father in Maryland?

The law assumes a man to be a child’s father if they are married to the child’s mother when the child was conceived or born. The presumption is that a child born or conceived during a marriage legitimately belongs to both spouses. The court assumes this to be true unless the situation is challenged.

In that case, paternity would have to be established through genetic testing. You must have been legally declared to be the child’s father before courts can decide on matters such as custody, visitation, and support. Montgomery County men’s child custody lawyers can advise you on the steps you need to take to establish paternity to ensure you don’t miss out on your custody rights.

What Are My Father’s Rights in a Child Custody Case?

Once the issue of establishing paternity is out of the way, the next essential thing is to evaluate how to protect your rights as a father in your custody battle. It’s important to realize that you have an equal right as the child’s mother to seek custody and parenting time with your child. You can seek sole or shared custody before a family court.

In the past, many people believed that courts favored mothers over fathers when awarding custody. The situation has dramatically evolved, and mothers don’t always get custody. With the help of skilled Montgomery County men’s child custody attorneys, you can fight to show how you’re the better-suited parent to be awarded legal custody of your child.

Fathers’s Rights and Child Support

If you’re not awarded child support as the legal father, you will most likely have to pay child support to the child’s mother. The law has provisions that courts adhere to when determining how much you should contribute toward the child’s needs and upkeep. The calculation is based on how much you earn.

You also have a right to request child support modification if circumstances change, significantly affecting your ability to keep up with the initial child support order. Examples of material changes that can warrant a modification are job loss or if your ex-spouse gets a pay rise. Your men’s child custody lawyers in Montgomery County can evaluate your situation and advise.

Conversely, you can petition for child support from your ex-spouse if you are awarded legal custody of the child. Sadly, many fathers are unaware of this right since, traditionally, fathers would make child support payments. Since the law gives you equal rights as the child’s mother, you could get some support even if they earn less than you.

Fathers’ Rights and Visitation

If you’re not awarded child custody, you can discuss visitation arrangements. As a legal father, you should be allowed to see your children and continue establishing a relationship with them, even if the mother has sole legal custody. However, the court can place limitations on visitation based on various circumstances.

For example, the primary custodian can specify when you can visit. They could also insist on being present during visitation. However, such cases are rare unless you’ve committed a serious crime.

The law aims at achieving the most favorable arrangement for the child by ensuring the child continues interacting with both parents unless they pose a danger to the child.

Maryland courts encourage scheduled visitation such as:

  • Visitation on alternate weekends
  • Alternating national holidays
  • An evening per week based on how close the parents live to each other and the age of the child
  • Summer vacation for school-going children

How Can I Ensure My Rights as a Father Are Respected During Child Custody?

As a father, you’re entitled to exercise certain rights, but family cases can be emotional and contentious. Courts sometimes make mistakes, and the best way to ensure your rights are upheld is to retain experienced Montgomery County child custody lawyers for legal counsel and representation.

Your ex may try to undermine your role as a father, especially if your divorce is contested. Skilled lawyers can ensure your rights are not overlooked, ignored, or undermined. Regarding child support, your lawyers can fight for a fair arrangement that doesn’t strain you financially.

An Experienced Child Custody Lawyer Upholding Fathers’ Rights in Custody Cases

Maryland upholds the child’s best interests when awarding custody, and understanding your father’s rights is the first step toward protecting your custody rights. You will be in a better position to prove why you’re best suited to provide the best overall environment for your child.

Work with reputable Montgomery County men’s child custody lawyers to assemble the necessary evidence to prove your case. Paré & Associates, LLC, is a law firm that aggressively advocates for fathers’ rights, and we can help you, too. Child custody battles can be challenging, but we know how to navigate the complexities. Call us at (301) 962-2492 to schedule a strategy session.