“Fathers’ rights” is a term of fairly recent origin that refers to the rights you have as the father of your children. These rights generally come into play in a family law setting, and have become a popular practice area for attorneys who seek to uphold these rights.
FindLaw explains that fathers’ rights cover a broad range of rights you have regarding your children, including the following:
- Right to participate in family planning decisions
- Right to participate in adoption decisions
- Right to establish paternity as an unmarried father
- Right to share parenting time with your child’s mother during and after a divorce
- Right to petition the court for full or joint custody
- Right to parental leave from work to care for an ill or injured child
They also include your right to access your child’s medical and school records and your right to have a meaningful ongoing relationship with your child after a divorce.
Social movement or civil rights movement?
Many people view fathers’ rights as a social movement whose time has long since come. Others view fathers’ rights as a basic civil right men have with regard to their children. Either way, the fact remains that, if you are like most fathers today, you gladly undertake the responsibilities of parenthood and want to be and remain a big part of your child’s life regardless of what relationship exists – or fails to exist – between you and the child’s mother.
Perhaps not surprisingly, many women are part of the fathers’ rights movement. This is particularly true of women who become second wives of men who have children from their first marriage. If you fit within this category, you know how important your wife’s cooperation and support is as you seek to be the best father possible to your children.