As a father who is going through a separation or divorce, you likely have questions about what rights you have under Canadian law. People believe in many myths about what rights a father has in the child custody process or how fathers are treated in custody proceedings. A family lawyer from Carmichael can ensure that you are aware of your rights and could help ensure that they are protected and enforced.
What Rights Do Fathers Have?
Under the Children’s Law Reform Act, both parents are, by default, equally entitled to primary custody of a child. Courts are not permitted to favor giving custody to the mother over the father. Instead, the court must assign primary physical custody in a way that furthers the best interest of the child, recognizing that fathers have the same capacity to nurture and support children as mothers.
Fathers also have the right to claim spousal support in divorce, with the Divorce Act recognizing that spousal support can be awarded to either spouse to compensate for disadvantages experienced by a spouse due to the breakdown of the marriage, to help support children, and to promote the financial self-sufficiency of both spouses post-divorce.
What Are Unmarried Fathers’ Rights
Unmarried fathers who separate from their child’s or children’s mother have the same rights to seek custody as fathers who divorce. However, if a couple separates prior to a child’s birth, the mother is not obligated to inform the father of his paternity. But if the mother wishes to give the child up for adoption, an unwed father who knows of his paternity has the right to petition for custody of his child instead of his child being adopted by someone else.
If only a mother signs a birth registration, she can choose to either give the child their father’s last name or give the child the mother’s last name. But an unwed father can petition to change his child’s last name to the father’s name, if the court finds that a name change would serve the child’s best interests.
What You Should Do to Protect Your Rights
To protect your rights to become or remain involved in your child’s life or children’s lives, you need to remain calm. By showing anger or frustration in the custody proceedings, you make it more likely that the court will award custody to the mother. Tips to remember to preserve and enforce your rights include:
- Never blame your partner or your wife for the breakdown of your relationship. By displaying hot-tempered behavior, you risk convincing the court that you might teach such behaviors to your children, which the court will obviously find does not serve their best interests.
- Remember to focus on your child or children throughout the process, rather than their mother. By doing so, you can show the court that you are dedicated to further your child’s or children’s best interests.
- Also remember that your child or children need their mother in their lives as well, so be prepared to share some custody rights with your ex as well.
- Consider taking parenting and co-parenting classes to learn skills that will help you raise your child and communicate more effective with their mother to co-parent.
Finally, you should strongly consider speaking with a family lawyer to learn more about your legal rights and options and to get skilled legal representation that will help you fight for your right to be involved with your child or children.
Contact an Oshawa Family Lawyer Now
If you are a father seeking to enforce your rights to be involved in your children’s lives, contact a Durham child custody and visitation lawyer from Carmichael today for a thorough and confidential consultation to discuss your legal options and next steps to take to advocate your rights as a father.