Execution of a Recognition of Parentage does not automatically establish custody or parenting time for the father; however, it does give the father the legal right to pursue a custody and parenting time action and ask for these rights. A court-ordered agreement will make sure your rights are protected. If you are unsure whether or not you want to initiate a custody and parenting case, consider a few of these reasons to pursue an action:
• To make sure you get to spend time with your child.
• To get notice if the mother wants to move out of state.
• To get notice if the mother wants to give someone else temporary custody.
• To get holiday time with your child.
• To enforce your parenting time rights.
• To qualify for a parenting time adjustment for court-ordered child support.
What most unmarried fathers do not realize is that until a temporary or permanent order is entered granting custody to another, the mother has sole legal and sole physical custody.
One of the most important things to do when considering bringing a motion is to document, document, document! It’s helpful to keep a journal or written records of the time you spend with your child. If you and the other party have come to an agreement regarding parenting time, write that down as well! This agreement may not be binding by the court or law enforcement, but it is evidence that you did have an agreement if you need to go to court later.
If the mother is denying you access to your child and paternity has been established, you should contact an attorney to learn how to file a Motion to Establish Custody and Parenting Time immediately. Time is of the essence in many of these types of family law matters.
If you think you may need assistance establishing custody and parenting time, please feel free to call a family law attorney at 507-625-2525 to schedule a free initial consultation.