What Are Dad’s Parenting Rights?
As you can see in the table below, not just in your state, but across the United States there is a simple presumption that father has the right to do all things needed to raise his child so long as it is in the child’s best interest.
However, the question of what is or is not in a child’s best interest is very subjective.
So a dad gets “rights” just like mom dad as long as it is in the child’s best interest, but when families fight and go to court, a judge (or in some states, a jury) decide on the parenting rights.
Does Dad Have More Legal Rights To Child Than Mom?
We looked at the central parenting determination statutes across the country and from a statutory standpoint, mother is never singled out as the presumptive parent to win custody.
Father has no more and no less right legally speaking than mother.
Additionally father’s entire right to parent can be terminated by the state, as shown in one example here.
So, the truth is, a father’s rights are not absolute in any state and in that way, a father is often put in the position of having to win even basic rights to parent in the face of bad evidence put forth by CPS or the mother.
The best way to assess Father’s rights is to simply look at how custody and parenting rights are determined between mom and dad, so for each state we have provided some of factors that are considered in making parenting right decisions.
From a legal standpoint, across the United States, you generally find that fathers and mothers share the same rights regarding their children.
Generally therefore, fathers have the following rights:
- The father’s right to manage a child as they grow up;
- The father’s right to direct the child’s religious upbringing;
- The father’s right to decide on education for the child;
- The father’s right to spend time with the child;
- The father’s right to discipline the child;
- The father’s right to support the child financially;
- The father’s right to support the child emotionally.
What Is The Actual Law On Father’s Rights?
The U.S. Supreme Court and federal court rulings throughout U.S. history recognize parents’ (both mother’s and father’s) constitutional rights to the care, custody, and control of their children.
There is a constitutional right to raise your child. However, the right is revocable when a father’s (or mother’s) exercise of the right is not in the child’s best interest.
Alabama Father’s Rights
Alabama Code Section 30-3-152, states:
The court shall in every case consider joint custody but may award any form of custody which is determined to be in the best interest of the child.
Alaska Father’s Rights
While laws in the United States do not explicitly list out what rights mother has and what rights father has, you can review how child custody cases are handled to see what rights are then either granted or taken away, and in this way figure out what rights really do exist.
Here is a quoted law on this topic from the Alaska Family Code which is really just called “Alaska Statutes”:
Sec. 25.20.090. Factors for consideration in awarding shared child custody.
In determining whether to award shared custody of a child the court shall consider
(1) the child’s preference if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form a preference;
(2) the needs of the child;
(3) the stability of the home environment likely to be offered by each parent;
(4) the education of the child;
(5) the advantages of keeping the child in the community where the child presently resides;
(6) the optimal time for the child to spend with each parent considering
(A) the actual time spent with each parent;
(B) the proximity of each parent to the other and to the school in which the child is enrolled;
(C) the feasibility of travel between the parents;
(D) special needs unique to the child that may be better met by one parent than the other;
(E) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child, except that the court may not consider this willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in domestic violence against the parent or a child, and that a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either the parent or the child;
(7) any findings and recommendations of a neutral mediator;
(8) any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect in the proposed custodial household or a history of violence between the parents;
(9) evidence that substance abuse by either parent or other members of the household directly affects the emotional or physical well-being of the child;
(10) other factors the court considers pertinent.
Arizona Father’s Rights
Again, there is not a list of father’s rights, but we can see from the cases where the rights have to be established between mother and father what the rights actually are.
We see in Arizona that the rights are supposed to be equal and based on the best interest of the child.
Arizona Father’s Rights Quote From Family Code
“A. The court shall determine legal decision-making and parenting time, either originally or on petition for modification, in accordance with the best interests of the child. The court shall consider all factors that are relevant to the child’s physical and emotional well-being, including:
1. The past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and the child.
2. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
3. The child’s adjustment to home, school and community.
4. If the child is of suitable age and maturity, the wishes of the child as to legal decision-making and parenting time.
5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
6. Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the other parent. This paragraph does not apply if the court determines that a parent is acting in good faith to protect the child from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim of domestic violence or child abuse.
7. Whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay, to increase the cost of litigation or to persuade the court to give a legal decision-making or a parenting time preference to that parent.
8. Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to section 25-403.03.
9. The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding legal decision-making or parenting time.
10. Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title.
11. Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02.
B. In a contested legal decision-making or parenting time case, the court shall make specific findings on the record about all relevant factors and the reasons for which the decision is in the best interests of the child.”
Arkansas Father’s Rights Law
Unlike other states Arkansas explicitly says that father’s rights are equal to mother’s rights: “without regard to the sex of the parent”…
(a) (1) (A) (i) In an action for divorce, the award of custody of a child of the marriage shall be made without regard to the sex of a parent but solely in accordance with the welfare and best interest of the child.
- (ii) In determining the best interest of the child, the court may consider the preferences of the child if the child is of a sufficient age and mental capacity to reason, regardless of chronological age.
(iii) In an action for divorce, an award of joint custody is favored in Arkansas.
California Father’s Rights
As with Arkansas, California expliclity says the fathering and mothering rights are not to be based on gender.
(a) Custody should be granted in the following order of preference according to the best interest of the child as provided in Sections 3011 and 3020:
(1) To both parents jointly pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 3080) or to either parent. In making an order granting custody to either parent, the court shall consider, among other factors, which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent, consistent with Sections 3011 and 3020. The court, in its discretion, may require the parents to submit to the court a plan for the implementation of the custody order.
(2) If to neither parent, to the person or persons in whose home the child has been living in a wholesome and stable environment.
(3) To any other person or persons deemed by the court to be suitable and able to provide adequate and proper care and guidance for the child.
(b) The immigration status of a parent, legal guardian, or relative shall not disqualify the parent, legal guardian, or relative from receiving custody under subdivision (a).
(c) The court shall not consider the sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation of a parent, legal guardian, or relative in determining the best interest of the child under subdivision (a).
(d) This section establishes neither a preference nor a presumption for or against joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or sole custody, but allows the court and the family the widest discretion to choose a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child, consistent with this section.
(e) In cases where a child has more than two parents, the court shall allocate custody and visitation among the parents based on the best interest of the child, including, but not limited to, addressing the child’s need for continuity and stability by preserving established patterns of care and emotional bonds. The court may order that not all parents share legal or physical custody of the child if the court finds that it would not be in the best interest of the child as provided in Sections 3011 and 3020.
Colorado Father’s Rights
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-124) Colorado law recognizes that it is generally in a child’s best interest to have frequent contact with both parents and to have both parents participate in child-rearing. Contrary to popular belief, neither parent begins the process with a greater right to custody than the other. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-124 (3).)
Connecticut Father’s Rights
Father’s Rights in Connecticut are very similar to most other states in that so long as it is in the best interest of the child, the father can exercise all rights needed in raising a child, just the same as mother can do.
Sec. 46b-56b. Presumption re best interest of child to be in custody of parent.In any dispute as to the custody of a minor child involving a parent and a nonparent, there shall be a presumption that it is in the best interest of the child to be in the custody of the parent, which presumption may be rebutted by showing that it would be detrimental to the child to permit the parent to have custody.
Delaware Father’s Rights
Best interest of the child factors control custody determinations.
Florida Father’s Rights
(c) The court shall determine all matters relating to parenting and time-sharing of each minor child of the parties in accordance with the best interests of the child and in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, except that modification of a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule requires a showing of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances.
Georgia Father’s Rights
As with most states, Georgia does not differentiate the rights of a father from a mother. Rather, whatever is best for the child is what controls the rights of the parents in a divorce situation.
19-9-3. Custody of child; best interest of child factors; finds of fact; review; retention of jurisdiction; change of address; attorney fees
(a)(1) In all cases in which the custody of any child is at issue between the parents, there shall be no prima-facie right to the custody of the child in the father or mother. There shall be no presumption in favor of any particular form of custody, legal or physical, nor in favor of either parent. Joint custody may be considered as an alternative form of custody by the judge and the judge at any temporary or permanent hearing may grant sole custody, joint custody, joint legal custody, or joint physical custody as appropriate.
Father’s Rights In Hawaii
§571-46 Criteria and procedure in awarding custody and visitation; best interest of the child. (a) In actions for divorce, separation, annulment, separate maintenance, or any other proceeding where there is at issue a dispute as to the custody of a minor child, the court, during the pendency of the action, at the final hearing, or any time during the minority of the child, may make an order for the custody of the minor child as may seem necessary or proper. In awarding the custody, the court shall be guided by the following standards, considerations, and procedures:
(1) Custody should be awarded to either parent or to both parents according to the best interests of the child, and the court also may consider frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact of each parent with the child unless the court finds that a parent is unable to act in the best interest of the child;
(2) Custody may be awarded to persons other than the father or mother whenever the award serves the best interest of the child. Any person who has had de facto custody of the child in a stable and wholesome home and is a fit and proper person shall be entitled prima facie to an award of custody;
Father’s Rights In Idaho
Father’s Rights In Illinois
Allocation of parental responsibilities: parenting time.
(a) Best interests. The court shall allocate parenting time according to the child's best interests.
(b) Allocation of parenting time. Unless the parents present a mutually agreed written parenting plan and that plan is approved by the court, the court shall allocate parenting time. It is presumed both parents are fit and the court shall not place any restrictions on parenting time as defined in Section 600 and described in Section 603.10, unless it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a parent's exercise of parenting time would seriously endanger the child's physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.
In determining the child's best interests for purposes of allocating parenting time, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, without limitation, the following:...
Father’s Rights In Indiana
(1) The age and sex of the child.
(2) The wishes of the child’s parent or parents.
(3) The wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child’s wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age.
(4) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with:
(A) the child’s parent or parents;
(B) the child’s sibling; and
(C) any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests.
(5) The child’s adjustment to the child’s:
(B) school; and
(6) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
(7) Evidence of a pattern of domestic or family violence by either parent.
(8) Evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian, and if the evidence is sufficient, the court shall consider the factors described in section 8.5(b) of this chapter.
(9) A designation in a power of attorney of:
(A) the child’s parent; or
(B) a person found to be a de facto custodian of the child.
[Pre-1997 Recodification Citation: 31-1-11.5-21(a).]
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.9. Amended by P.L.96-1999, SEC.7; P.L.133-2002, SEC.32; P.L.194-2017, SEC.14.
Father’s Rights In Iowa
598.41 Custody of children. 1. a. The court may provide for joint custody of the child by the parties. The court, insofar as is reasonable and in the best interest of the child, shall order the custody award, including liberal visitation rights where appropriate, which will assure the child the opportunity for the maximum continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved the marriage, and which will encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child unless direct physical harm or significant emotional harm to the child, other children, or a parent is likely to result from such contact with one parent.
Father’s Rights In Kansas
Here are some cases showing that Kansas cosniders the best interest of the child when making custody determinations.
Father’s Rights In Kentucky
403.270 Custodial issues — Best interests of child shall determine — Rebuttable presumption that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in child’s best interests — De facto custodian.
Father’s Rights In Maine
The court decides parental rights and responsibilities for both married and unmarried parents on the basis of what is in the best interest of the child. This is the legal standard in Maine law. The best interest of the child takes into consideration many factors. Above all, the court has to first consider the safety and well-being of the child. The court looks at other factors as well, such as:
- The age of the child;
- The relationship of the child with each parent;
- The child’s preference, if the child is old enough to express a preference;
- The stability of living arrangements;
- The capacity of each parent to cooperate with the other parent;
- The existence of domestic violence between the parents; and
- Anything else the court thinks is relevant to its decision.
Father’s Rights In Maryland
CHILD CUSTODY/VISITATION Initial Custody awards are generally made on a case by case basis of the best interests of the child.
Father’s Rights In Massechusets
This statute regarding father’s rights is different than the others in the United States in that it simply says parents rights are equal and that the happiness of the child shall determine their custody. It is curiously worded law compared to other states!
In making an order or judgment relative to the custody of children, the rights of the parents shall, in the absence of misconduct, be held to be equal, and the happiness and welfare of the children shall determine their custody. When considering the happiness and welfare of the child, the court shall consider whether or not the child’s present or past living conditions adversely affect his physical, mental, moral or emotional health.
Father’s Rights In Michigan
722.23 “Best interests of the child” defined.
Father’s Rights In Minnesota
518.17 CUSTODY AND SUPPORT OF CHILDREN ON JUDGMENT.
Best interests of the child.
(a) In evaluating the best interests of the child for purposes of determining issues of custody and parenting time, the court must consider and evaluate all relevant factors, including:
(1) a child’s physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, and other needs, and the effect of the proposed arrangements on the child’s needs and development;
(2) any special medical, mental health, or educational needs that the child may have that may require special parenting arrangements or access to recommended services;
(3) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient ability, age, and maturity to express an independent, reliable preference;
(4) whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has occurred in the parents’ or either parent’s household or relationship; the nature and context of the domestic abuse; and the implications of the domestic abuse for parenting and for the child’s safety, well-being, and developmental needs;
(5) any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affects the child’s safety or developmental needs;
(6) the history and nature of each parent’s participation in providing care for the child;
(7) the willingness and ability of each parent to provide ongoing care for the child; to meet the child’s ongoing developmental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural needs; and to maintain consistency and follow through with parenting time;
(8) the effect on the child’s well-being and development of changes to home, school, and community;
(9) the effect of the proposed arrangements on the ongoing relationships between the child and each parent, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life;
(10) the benefit to the child in maximizing parenting time with both parents and the detriment to the child in limiting parenting time with either parent;
(11) except in cases in which domestic abuse as described in clause (4) has occurred, the disposition of each parent to support the child’s relationship with the other parent and to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent; and
(12) the willingness and ability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of their child; to maximize sharing information and minimize exposure of the child to parental conflict; and to utilize methods for resolving disputes regarding any major decision concerning the life of the child.
Father’s Rights In Mississippi
One of the most serious aspects in a divorce is child custody. When a chancery court judge considers custody issues, the overriding question is “What is in the best interest of the child?”
Both parents have equal rights to the child, so a judge considers several factors in custody matters. These include the health and sex of the child, the primary caregiver prior to the divorce, parenting skills and willingness to care for the child, the emotional ties between child and parent, and each parent’s moral fitness.
Father’s Rights In Missouri
The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interests of the child. When the parties have not reached an agreement on all issues related to custody, the court shall consider all relevant factors and enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law, including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) The wishes of the child’s parents as to custody and the proposed parenting plan submitted by both parties;
(2) The needs of the child for a frequent, continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and the ability and willingness of parents to actively perform their functions as mother and father for the needs of the child;
(3) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
(4) Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent;
(5) The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community;
(6) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, including any history of abuse of any individuals involved. If the court finds that a pattern of domestic violence as defined in section 455.010 has occurred, and, if the court also finds that awarding custody to the abusive parent is in the best interest of the child, then the court shall enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law. Custody and visitation rights shall be ordered in a manner that best protects the child and any other child or children for whom the parent has custodial or visitation rights, and the parent or other family or household member who is the victim of domestic violence from any further harm;
(7) The intention of either parent to relocate the principal residence of the child; and
(8) The wishes of a child as to the child’s custodian. The fact that a parent sends his or her child or children to a home school, as defined in section 167.031, shall not be the sole factor that a court considers in determining custody of such child or children.
Father’s Rights In Montana
(2) Based on the best interest of the child, a final parenting plan may include, at a minimum, provisions for:
(a) designation of a parent as custodian of the child, solely for the purposes of all other state and federal statutes that require a designation or determination of custody, but the designation may not affect either parent’s rights and responsibilities under the parenting plan;
(b) designation of the legal residence of both parents and the child, except as provided in 40-4-217;
(c) a residential schedule specifying the periods of time during which the child will reside with each parent, including provisions for holidays, birthdays of family members, vacations, and other special occasions;
(d) finances to provide for the child’s needs;
(e) any other factors affecting the physical and emotional health and well-being of the child;
(f) periodic review of the parenting plan when requested by either parent or the child or when circumstances arise that are foreseen by the parents as triggering a need for review, such as attainment by the child of a certain age or if a change in the child’s residence is necessitated;
(g) sanctions that will apply if a parent fails to follow the terms of the parenting plan, including contempt of court;
(h) allocation of parental decisionmaking authority regarding the child’s:
(ii) spiritual development; and
(iii) health care and physical growth;
(i) the method by which future disputes concerning the child will be resolved between the parents, other than court action; and
(j) the unique circumstances of the child or the family situation that the parents agree will facilitate a meaningful, ongoing relationship between the child and parents.
Father’s Rights In Nevada
NRS 125C.003 Best interests of child: Primary physical custody; presumptions; child born out of wedlock.
1. A court may award primary physical custody to a parent if the court determines that joint physical custody is not in the best interest of a child. An award of joint physical custody is presumed not to be in the best interest of the child if:
(a) The court determines by substantial evidence that a parent is unable to adequately care for a minor child for at least 146 days of the year;
(b) A child is born out of wedlock and the provisions of subsection 2 are applicable; or
(c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection 6 of NRS 125C.0035 or NRS 125C.210, there has been a determination by the court after an evidentiary hearing and finding by clear and convincing evidence that a parent has engaged in one or more acts of domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child or any other person residing with the child. The presumption created by this paragraph is a rebuttable presumption.
2. A court may award primary physical custody of a child born out of wedlock to:
(a) The mother of the child if:
(1) The mother has not married the father of the child;
(2) A judgment or order of a court, or a judgment or order entered pursuant to an expedited process, determining the paternity of the child has not been entered; and
(3) The father of the child:
(I) Is not subject to any presumption of paternity under NRS 126.051;
(II) Has never acknowledged paternity pursuant to NRS 126.053; or
(III) Has had actual knowledge of his paternity but has abandoned the child.
(b) The father of the child if:
(1) The mother has abandoned the child; and
(2) The father has provided sole care and custody of the child in her absence.
3. As used in this section:
(a) “Abandoned” means that a mother or father has:
(1) Failed, for a continuous period of not less than 6 months, to provide substantial personal and economic support to the child; or
(2) Knowingly declined, for a continuous period of not less than 6 months, to have any meaningful relationship with the child.
(b) “Expedited process” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 126.161.
(Added to NRS by 2015, 2582)
Father’s Rights In New Hampshire
New Hampshire law presumes that “joint” decision-making responsibility is in the best interest of minor children. That means both parents have a right to take part in making important decisions about their children, unless the court is convinced otherwise
Father’s Rights In New Jersey
Rule 5:8-5. Custody and Parenting Time/Visitation Plans, Recital in Judgment or Order (a) In any family action in which the parties cannot agree to a custody or parenting time/visitation arrangement, the parties must each file a Custody and Parenting Time/Visitation Plan, which the court shall consider in awarding custody and fixing a parenting time or visitation schedule. The Custody and Parenting Time/Visitation Plan shall be filed no later than seventy-five (75) days after the last responsive pleading is filed. If, however, mediation as permitted by R. 1:40-5(a) is conducted, the Custody and Parenting Time/Visitation Plan shall be filed no later than 14 days following an unsuccessful mediation. Contents of Plan. The Custody and Parenting Time/Visitation Plan shall include but shall not be limited to the following factors: (1) Address of the parties. (2) Employment of the parties. (3) Type of custody requested with the reasons for selecting the type of custody. (a) Joint legal custody with one parent having primary residential care. (b) Joint physical custody. (c) Sole custody to one parent, parenting time/visitation to the other. (d) Other custodial arrangement. (4) Specific schedule as to parenting time/visitation including, but not limited to, weeknights, weekends, vacations, legal holidays, religious holidays, school vacations, birthdays and special occasions (family outings, extracurricular activities and religious services). (5) Access to medical school records. (6) Impact if there is to be a contemplated change of residence by a parent. (7) Participation in making decisions regarding the child(ren). (8) Any other pertinent information.
Father’s Rights In New Mexico
New Mexico law presumes that joint custody is in the best interest of a child in an initial custody determination. NMSA 1978, § 40-4-9.1(A) (Repl.Pamp. 1989). Once joint custody has been decreed, it is not to be terminated unless there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances affecting the welfare of the child, such that joint custody is no longer in the child’s best interests.
The “best interests” criterion, of course, is the lodestar for determining a custody award, under both statute and case law in New Mexico, and probably in all other jurisdictions in this country. See, e.g., § 40-4-9(A) (custody of minor under age fourteen to be determined in accordance with child’s best interests)
Father’s Rights In New York
In all custody proceedings in New York, the main concern for the court in awarding custody is the “best interest of the child.” The “best interest of the child” test means that the courts are required to balance the ability of each parent to meet the needs of the child or children.
The court will determine child custody based on the “best interest of the child” test by evaluating a number of factors. It is rare that one factor by itself will determine custody. Instead, courts will make a finding on custody based on the totality of the factors. These factors include the following:
- Stability. Priority in custody disputes is usually given to the parent who is first awarded custody, either by the court or by voluntary agreement between the parents. For example, if the other parent leaves the home and you raise the child for a period of time without the other parent’s presence in the home, the court would weigh the stability of keeping the child in the home, rather than changing custody to the other parent;
- Child care arrangements. Often, both parents have to work, and priority may be given to the parent who has better child care arrangements. For instance, if the other parent has significantly better child care arrangements than you, this factor may affect a custody arrangement;
- Primary Caretaker. Priority in custody disputes may be given to the parent who was the primary caretaker of the child before the divorce or separation. For instance, while you and the other parent lived in the same household, if the other parent spent significantly more time taking care of the child while you worked or did other activities, the other parent, as the primary caretaker, would be more likely to be awarded custody;
- Drugs and alcohol. Evidence of drug and alcohol misuse can affect the award of custody, with the parent who has a substance abuse problem being less likely to receive custody;
- Mental Health of the Parents. Untreated mental illness, personality disorders, or emotional instability and/or poor parenting may affect a custody award, with the parent who is suffering from those conditions being less likely to receive custody;
- Physical health of the parent. Severe physical illness/disability that greatly affects one parent’s ability to care for the child may affect a custody award, with the parent suffering from such a condition being less likely to receive custody;
- Spousal abuse. Evidence that one parent has committed domestic violence against the other parent, especially in the presence of the child, will affect a custody award, with the parent who committed such acts against the other parent being less likely to receive custody;
- Abuse, Neglect, Abandonment and Interference with visitation rights. Evidence that one parent abused, neglected or abandoned the child will affect custody, with the parent who committed such acts against the child being less likely to receive custody. Also, evidence that one parent has significantly interfered with the visitation rights of the other parent may cause that parent to lose custody;
- Child’s preference. A child’s preference to live with one parent may be taken into consideration, depending on the age of the child. The closer the child is to 18 years old, the more weight the court will give to the child’s wishes. However, the court will look closely at the reasons why the child prefers to live with the other parent. For example, if the child prefers to live with a parent who is not disciplining the child and who does not set appropriate boundaries for the child, then the court may find that would not be in the child’s best interest to live with that parent;
- Finances of each parent. Courts will consider which parent can provide financially for the child. For instance, if one parent is unable to afford housing, then this may have a negative impact on giving custody to that parent;
- Conditions in the home environment. Courts do not want to place a child in a dangerous or unhealthy household. For instance, if one parent’s household poses dangers for the child, such as a new partner that is violent, or frequent parties at the home, or dangerous items kept in the home, this could affect custody, with the parent in the dangerous household being less likely to receive custody;
- Educational opportunities. If one parent is able to offer the child much better educational opportunities, such as a great school or a school that meets the child’s special needs, then this may affect custody, with the parent who is better able to meet the child’s academic needs being given custody;
- Where the child’s siblings live. Courts prefer to keep siblings together whenever possible. If the child has siblings or half-siblings living with one parent, this may affect whether that parent receives custody.
- Court’s observations of the parents. Courts will also consider the parents’ behavior in court, and are more likely to give custody to the parent who will encourage the child to build a relationship with the other parent.
Father’s Rights In North Carolina
At the outset, we note that the “Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 66, 120 S.Ct. 2054, 2060, 147 L.Ed.2d 49, 57 (2000). This parental liberty interest “is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests” the United States Supreme Court has recognized. Id. at 65, 120 S.Ct. at 2060, 147 L.Ed.2d at 56. This interest includes the right of parents to establish a home and to direct the upbringing and education of their children. Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399-400, 43 S.Ct. 625, 626-27, 67 L.Ed. 1042, 1045-46 (1923). Indeed, the protection of the family unit is guaranteed not only by the Due Process Clause, but also by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and possibly by the Ninth Amendment. Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 661, 92 S.Ct. 1208, 1217-18, 31 L.Ed.2d 551, 559 (1972).
Father’s Rights In North Dakota
14-09-06.2. Best interests and welfare of child – Court consideration – Factors. 1. For the purpose of parental rights and responsibilities, the best interests and welfare of the child is determined by the court’s consideration and evaluation of all factors Page No. 1 affecting the best interests and welfare of the child. These factors include all of the following when applicable: a. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and child and the ability of each parent to provide the child with nurture, love, affection, and guidance. b. The ability of each parent to assure that the child receives adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and a safe environment. c. The child’s developmental needs and the ability of each parent to meet those needs, both in the present and in the future. d. The sufficiency and stability of each parent’s home environment, the impact of extended family, the length of time the child has lived in each parent’s home, and the desirability of maintaining continuity in the child’s home and community. e. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child. f. The moral fitness of the parents, as that fitness impacts the child. g. The mental and physical health of the parents, as that health impacts the child. h. The home, school, and community records of the child and the potential effect of any change. i. If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that a child is of sufficient maturity to make a sound judgment, the court may give substantial weight to the preference of the mature child. The court also shall give due consideration to other factors that may have affected the child’s preference, including whether the child’s preference was based on undesirable or improper influences. j. Evidence of domestic violence. In determining parental rights and responsibilities, the court shall consider evidence of domestic violence. If the court finds credible evidence that domestic violence has occurred, and there exists one incident of domestic violence which resulted in serious bodily injury or involved the use of a dangerous weapon or there exists a pattern of domestic violence within a reasonable time proximate to the proceeding, this combination creates a rebuttable presumption that a parent who has perpetrated domestic violence may not be awarded residential responsibility for the child. This presumption may be overcome only by clear and convincing evidence that the best interests of the child require that parent have residential responsibility. The court shall cite specific findings of fact to show that the residential responsibility best protects the child and the parent or other family or household member who is the victim of domestic violence. If necessary to protect the welfare of the child, residential responsibility for a child may be awarded to a suitable third person, provided that the person would not allow access to a violent parent except as ordered by the court. If the court awards residential responsibility to a third person, the court shall give priority to the child’s nearest suitable adult relative. The fact that the abused parent suffers from the effects of the abuse may not be grounds for denying that parent residential responsibility. As used in this subdivision, “domestic violence” means domestic violence as defined in section 14-07.1-01. A court may consider, but is not bound by, a finding of domestic violence in another proceeding under chapter 14-07.1. k. The interaction and inter-relationship, or the potential for interaction and interrelationship, of the child with any person who resides in, is present, or frequents the household of a parent and who may significantly affect the child’s best interests. The court shall consider that person’s history of inflicting, or tendency to inflict, physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault, on other persons. l. The making of false allegations not made in good faith, by one parent against the other, of harm to a child. m. Any other factors considered by the court to be relevant to a particular parental rights and responsibilities dispute.
Father’s Rights In Ohio
Ohio’s law says that all father’s rights are decided based on the best interest of the child.
Father’s Rights In Ohio
Parents have a fundamental constitutional right to have the care, custody and control of their child, unless or until they violate basic civic expectations or norms or put their child in harm’s way. 43 O.S. Section 109 requires that the Court, in awarding custody to a parent or a third party, “consider what appears to be in the best interests of the physical and mental and moral welfare of the child.” Our statutes, however, contain no definition of the term “best interests of the physical and mental and moral welfare of the child.” Case law and common sense give us some notion of what is “not” in a child’s best interest.
Oregon Father’s Rights
A judge’s primary consideration in deciding how to award custody is the best interest of the child. To decide the best interest of a child, the court will look at these factors:
- The emotional ties between the child and other family members
- The interest of the parents in and attitude toward the child
- The desirability of continuing an existing relationship
- The abuse of one parent by the other
- The preference for the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court
- The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child
Pennsylvania Father’s Rights
In making custody and visitation decisions, Pennsylvania courts look to various factors in determining what is in the “best interest of the child.” The factors weighed by the court include: (1) the well-reasoned preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgment; (2) the need for stability and continuity in the child’s education, family life and community life; (3) which parent is more likely to foster a relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child; (4) each parent’s history of violent or abusive conduct; and (5) specific criminal convictions. The court will only award sole custody when it is in the best interest of the child. Shared custody will only be awarded if: (1) one or both parents apply for it; (2) the parents have agreed to shared custody; or (3) the court determines it is in the best interest of the child.
Rhode Island Father’s Rights
Our Legislature has not statutorily defined the factors that compose “the best interests of the child” standard. Consequently in this state, the best interests of the child standard remains amorphous and its implementation has been left to the sound discretion of the trial justices. However, there are identifiable factors that must be weighed in the best interests of the child analysis when relevant. These factors include:
1. The wishes of the child’s parent or parents regarding the child’s custody.
2. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
3. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
4. The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community.
5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
6. The stability of the child’s home environment.
7. The moral fitness of the child’s parents.
914*914 8. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate a close and continuous parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
The best interests of the child should not be determined by assessing any one factor. The trial justice must consider a combination of and an interaction among all the relevant factors that affect the child’s best interests.
South Carolina Father’s Rights
SECTION 63-15-30. Child’s preference.
In determining the best interests of the child, the court must consider the child’s reasonable preference for custody. The court shall place weight upon the preference based upon the child’s age, experience, maturity, judgment, and ability to express a preference.
South Dakota Father’s Rights
25-5-7.1. Joint legal custody order–Factors for court’s consideration–Joint physical custody.
In any custody dispute between parents, the court may order joint legal custody so that both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child and so that both parents must confer on, and participate in, major decisions affecting the welfare of the child. In ordering joint legal custody, the court may consider the expressed desires of the parents and may grant to one party the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child’s welfare or may divide those aspects between the parties based on the best interest of the child. If it appears to the court to be in the best interest of the child, the court may order, or the parties may agree, how any such responsibility shall be divided. Such areas of responsibility may include the child’s primary physical residence, child care, education, extracurricular activities, medical and dental care, religious instruction, the child’s use of motor vehicles, and any other responsibilities which the court finds unique to a particular family or in the best interest of the child. If the court awards joint legal custody, it may also order joint physical custody in such proportions as are in the best interests of the child, notwithstanding the objection of either parent.
Father’s Rights In Tennessee
§ 36-6-106. Child custody. (a) In a suit for annulment, divorce, separate maintenance, or in any other proceeding requiring the court to make a custody determination regarding a minor child, the determination shall be made on the basis of the best interest of the child. In taking into account the child’s best interest, the court shall order a custody arrangement that permits both parents to enjoy the maximum participation possible in the life of the child consistent with the factors set out in this subsection (a), the location of the residences of the parents, the child’s need for stability and all other relevant factors. The court shall consider all relevant factors, including the following, where applicable: (1) The strength, nature, and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent, including whether one (1) parent has performed the majority of parenting responsibilities relating to the daily needs of the child; (2) Each parent’s or caregiver’s past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness and ability of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents, consistent with the best interest of the child. In determining the willingness of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents, the court shall consider the likelihood of each parent and caregiver to honor and facilitate court ordered parenting arrangements and rights, and the court shall further consider any history of either parent or any caregiver denying parenting time to either parent in violation of a court order; (3) Refusal to attend a court ordered parent education seminar may be considered by the court as a lack of good faith effort in these proceedings; (4) The disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education and other necessary care; (5) The degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver, defined as the parent who has taken the greater responsibility for performing parental responsibilities; (6) The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child; (7) The emotional needs and developmental level of the child; (8) The moral, physical, mental and emotional fitness of each parent as it relates to their ability to parent the child. The court may order an examination of a party under Rule 35 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and, if necessary for the conduct of the proceedings, order the disclosure of confidential mental health information of a party under § 33-3-105(3). The court order required by § 33-3-105(3) must contain a qualified protective order that limits the dissemination of confidential protected mental health information to the purpose of the litigation pending before the court and provides for the return or destruction of the confidential protected mental health information at the conclusion of the proceedings; (9) The child’s interaction and interrelationships with siblings, other relatives and step-relatives, and mentors, as well as the child’s involvement with the child’s physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities; (10) The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment; (11) Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person. The court shall, where appropriate, refer any issues of abuse to juvenile court for further proceedings; (12) The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such person’s interactions with the child; (1) The reasonable preference of the child if twelve (12) years of age or older. The court may hear the preference of a younger child upon request. The preference of older children should normally be given greater weight than those of younger children; (14) Each parent’s employment schedule, and the court may make accommodations consistent with those schedules
Father’s Rights In Texas
Sec. 153.002. BEST INTEREST OF CHILD. The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.
Father’s Rights In Utah
Father’s Rights In Vermont
Title 15 : Domestic Relations
Chapter 011 : Annulment And Divorce
Subchapter 003A : Child Custody And Support
- § 665. Rights and responsibilities order; best interests of the child(b) In making an order under this section, the court shall be guided by the best interests of the child and shall consider at least the following factors:(2) the ability and disposition of each parent to assure that the child receives adequate food, clothing, medical care, other material needs, and a safe environment;(4) the quality of the child’s adjustment to the child’s present housing, school, and community and the potential effect of any change;(6) the quality of the child’s relationship with the primary care provider, if appropriate given the child’s age and development;(8) the ability and disposition of the parents to communicate, cooperate with each other, and make joint decisions concerning the children where parental rights and responsibilities are to be shared or divided; and(c) The court shall not apply a preference for one parent over the other because of the sex of the child, the sex of a parent, or the financial resources of a parent.
- (d) The court may order a parent who is awarded responsibility for a certain matter involving a child’s welfare to inform the other parent when a major change in that matter occurs.
- (9) evidence of abuse, as defined in section 1101 of this title, and the impact of the abuse on the child and on the relationship between the child and the abusing parent.
- (7) the relationship of the child with any other person who may significantly affect the child;
- (5) the ability and disposition of each parent to foster a positive relationship and frequent and continuing contact with the other parent, including physical contact, except where contact will result in harm to the child or to a parent;
- (3) the ability and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s present and future developmental needs;
- (1) the relationship of the child with each parent and the ability and disposition of each parent to provide the child with love, affection, and guidance;
- (a) In an action under this chapter, the court shall make an order concerning parental rights and responsibilities of any minor child of the parties. The court may order parental rights and responsibilities to be divided or shared between the parents on such terms and conditions as serve the best interests of the child. When the parents cannot agree to divide or share parental rights and responsibilities, the court shall award parental rights and responsibilities primarily or solely to one parent.
Father’s Rights In Virginia
§ 20-124.3. Best interests of the child; visitation.
2. The age and physical and mental condition of each parent;
3. The relationship existing between each parent and each child, giving due consideration to the positive involvement with the child’s life, the ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual, and physical needs of the child;
4. The needs of the child, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the child, including but not limited to siblings, peers, and extended family members;
5. The role that each parent has played and will play in the future, in the upbringing and care of the child;
6. The propensity of each parent to actively support the child’s contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the child;
7. The relative willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child;
8. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age, and experience to express such a preference;
9. Any history of (i) family abuse as that term is defined in § 16.1-228; (ii) sexual abuse; (iii) child abuse; or (iv) an act of violence, force, or threat as defined in § 19.2-152.7:1 that occurred no earlier than 10 years prior to the date a petition is filed. If the court finds such a history or act, the court may disregard the factors in subdivision 6; and
Father’s Rights In Washington
It was difficult to locate a statute and best interest of the child factors that show up on the family codes of most states were not located by the author for Washington.
In parentage and child custody disputes we afford considerable deference to parents as we balance their fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children with the interests of other parties and the need to ensure stable and safe environments for children.
Father’s Rights In West Virginia
§48-9-102. Objectives; best interests of the child.
(a) The primary objective of this article is to serve the child’s best interests, by facilitating:
(1) Stability of the child;
(2) Parental planning and agreement about the child’s custodial arrangements and upbringing;
(3) Continuity of existing parent-child attachments;
(4) Meaningful contact between a child and each parent;
(5) Caretaking and parenting relationships by adults who love the child, know how to provide for the child’s needs, and who place a high priority on doing so;
(6) Security from exposure to physical or emotional harm;
(7) Expeditious, predictable decision-making and avoidance of prolonged uncertainty respecting arrangements for the child’s care and control; and
(8) Meaningful contact between a child and his or her siblings, including half-siblings.
(b) A secondary objective of article is to achieve fairness between the parents.
Father’s Rights In Wisonsin
Considers best interest of child when awarding father rights to parent.
Father’s Rights In Wyoming
The Court will consider the best interest of the child including the following factors:
- the quality of the child’s relationship with each parent
- each parent’s ability to provide adequate care for the child, including arranging for the child’s care by others as needed
- the relative competency and fitness of each parent
- each parent’s willingness to accept all responsibilities of parenting, including a willingness to accept care for the child at specified times, and to relinquish care to the other parent at specified times
- how the parents and child can best maintain and strengthen a relationship with each other
- how the parents and child interact and communicate with each other, and how such interaction and communication may be improved
- each parent’s ability and willingness to allow the other to provide care without intrusion, and to respect the other parent’s rights and responsibilities, including the right to privacy
- the geographic distance between the parents’ residences
- each parent’s current physical and mental ability to care for the child,
When Are a Father’s Rights Terminated:
The 50 states follow different standars but Washington’s statute lays out grounds for terminating parental rights as follows:
clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child to terminate the relationship and that the parent has failed to perform parental duties under circumstances showing a substantial lack of regard for [their] parental obligations and is withholding consent to adoption contrary to the best interest of the child
A parent’s obligations involve the following minimum attributes
“(1) [E]xpress love and affection for the child; (2) express personal concern over the health, education, and general well-being of the child; (3) the duty to supply the necessary food, clothing, and medical care; (4) the duty to provide an adequate domicile; and (5) the duty to furnish social and religious guidance.”