Dispelling Myths About Parental Rights

Posted on: 17 April 2015

Having children is supposed to be one of a person's crowning life achievements, but these joyous events can lead to complicated legal problems for the new parents. These situations can be further complicated by misinformation that many people believe about family law issues. This can lead to believing a couple of myths are true, which can cause you to make poor decisions when it comes to your new family. By understanding the reality that underpins these myths, you will find yourself in a far better position to keep your child safe and happy.

Myth: Leaving The Father Off Of The Birth Certificate Will Make It Harder For Him To Get Custody

There are many single expectant mothers that may not have a healthy relationship with their baby's father. Not surprisingly, this can lead to substantial mistrust, which may or may not be deserved. To protect themselves from the father being able to obtain custody, many new mothers will leave the father off of the birth certificate. However, it should be noted that this is not an effective option for achieving this goal because the father can always petition the courts for a paternity test, which could result in the court adding him to the document. 

Luckily, the father being on the birth certificate will not make it any easier or harder for you to protect your parental rights over your child. However, it can provide your child with substantial benefits. For example, if the father were to die without a will, the child would stand to inherit the bulk of their assets. Without being on the birth certificate, the child would only be entitled to what was willed to them. 

Myth: Visitation Is Always Guaranteed

Another idea is that the father's rights to visitation are always guaranteed by the court. While it is true that the court system will do everything it can to ensure the child has access to both parents, there are times where this is not in the best interest of the child. For example, if the other parent is a known drug addict or engages in other illegal behavior, the courts can be petitioned for their visitation rights to be suspended until these issues are corrected. 

While you may think that this entails you to the right to deny visitation whenever there is a problem, you should not make this mistake. The courts acknowledge that a parent may deny visitation when there is an imminent threat to the child, but if the courts find this is not the case, you may be arrested for contempt of court for refusing visitation. 

Understanding your rights and obligations as a parent is important for ensuring that your parental rights are protected. Unfortunately, believing commonly held misconceptions can cause you to make poor decisions. By knowing that including the father on the birth certificate can only provide your child with benefits and that visitation rights are not guaranteed, you can help keep your child safe and ensure that your legal battles are kept to a minimum. For more information, speak with experts like the Souders Law Group.