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Fathers' rights in Gig Harbor are important all year round

Father's Day has come and gone, but it is important to keep in mind that children benefit from having a nurturing and supportive father in their lives. Unmarried fathers in Gig Harbor who are no longer in a relationship with their child's mother may want to seek custody or visitation with their child, who they may love very much. However, before they can do so, they may need to establish paternity.

One way to establish paternity is for each parent to sign an acknowledgment of paternity, and file it with the appropriate authorities. This can take place either when the child is born in the hospital, or after the child is born. If there is some sort of question as to who a child's biological father is, a DNA test can be performed either voluntarily or through a court order. Once paternity is legally established, a father has the right to seek custody or visitation with his child.

Sometimes, parents can negotiate a child custody and visitation on their own out-of-court. If so, the agreement can be presented to a judge, who can make the agreement official and legally enforceable.

If parents cannot agree on child custody and visitation issues, a hearing can be held. This means the court will determine a child custody and visitation arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. While it may have been the case in years past that children thrived the best while in the care of their mothers, these days, courts in general presume that a child will thrive best by having both their mother and father involved in their life.

That being said, if the mother has been the child's primary caregiver, it may be difficult for a father to be awarded sole custody of his child. But, it still can be possible for a father to get the time with his child, he needs to cultivate a meaningful relationship with his child.

As this shows, fathers' rights are important, both on Father's Day and every day. This post only provides a general overview of fathers' rights. Fathers who need more specific information regarding paternity and child custody and visitation may want to seek legal advice.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Child Visitation, Child Custody and Unmarried Fathers," accessed on June 20, 2016

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