Fathers have a right to have and maintain a relationship with their children. Alaska laws regarding paternity and custody enforce and uphold this right. In addition, custody laws ensure that children have a right to have connection and contact with both parents.

However, these rights can have limitations when it comes to the protection of the child’s well-being. If a child is in danger because of an abusive or neglectful father, the courts may limit the contact between the father and child.

Establishing paternity

Paternity is the legal state of being the father of a child. Establishing paternity can provide an emotional, economic and social bond between a child and father. When a father establishes paternity, it ensures the child has the same privileges and rights as every other child. According to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Division of Public Health, these rights include:

  • Inheritance rights
  • Access to the father’s health and life insurance
  • Access to the father’s veterans and Social Security benefits

But paternity goes beyond upholding legal rights. Establishing paternity requires either parent to fill out, sign and file a voluntary affidavit. Genetic testing may be necessary.

Child custody

All fathers have a right to petition the family court for custody and visitation. According to AS 25.24.150, the court makes all custody decisions with the best interests of the child in mind. Judges in Alaska tend to favor visitation or joint custody, as long as the presence of a father during a child’s upbringing has a positive impact. But if the father’s presence is against the child’s interest, the judge may decide to limit visitation, order supervised visitation or bar contact.

Not only do Alaska judges generally favor the right to a child to have a relationship with both parents, but they tend to view this connection as beneficial to the child and parent.