What Rights Do Men Have?

What Rights Do Men Have

With marriage rates declining, there is an increase in children being born to unwed couples. There is no “apparent” stigma and society seems to have embraced this as a norm. Indeed, in the past a child born out of wedlock was called “illegitimate”.

However, now our society recognizes that there is nothing illegitimate about any human being and all children recognized rights of a person independent of whether or not their parents are married. This positive shift has however, resulted in questions being raised regarding the rights of parents, especially fathers, with respect to their offspring.
What rights does the father have when he believes that another woman (his lover; girlfriend; or unmarried partner) is carrying his child? Does he have the right to ask his partner to stop smoking? Does he have the right to insist on a specific type of birth (hospital; midwife; water birth; natural birth; or otherwise)? Does he have the right to stop his lover from having an abortion or even engaging in dangerous activities or experiences while pregnant? Does he have the right to have the baby bear his last name or the name of his choice when the baby is born? Does he have the right to stop or insist on a circumcision at birth in the hospital?

In our firm we have handled over 15,000 cases over the years and we have seen all of the above situations. In fact, we are contacted regularly by men seeking answers to these questions. More specifically, how can any man know whether or not the child in another person’s (a woman) womb is his? The only way to determine this would be from a paternity test during the pregnancy, a procedure known as a “Pre-natal Paternity Testing”.
It is only through pre-natal paternity testing that the man could even hope to assert a plan as putative father. In other words, a man is precluded from asserting his rights pending the results of a paternity test. This begs the question: Does a man have the right to order pre-natal paternity testing? No.

Even though there are genetic marker tests and blood tests, whereby the fetus is undisturbed, (there is no intrusive or risky Amniocentesis, there is no testing of the amniotic fluid or the fetal tissues;) it is simply a pin prick test of the mother. The mother’s right to privacy together with the HIPAA Laws prevent ordering a woman to submit to pre-natal paternity tests.

The law is confusing in this area because the new state law allows a specific law suit and it also states that the matter must be adjourned until the birth of the child.

Nowhere in the article is there a provision for the testing of the fetus. The child must already be born even though the action for the genetic testing can be done while the woman is pregnant. Unfortunately, even though the scientific reliability of a pre-natal test is, for all reasonable purposes, conclusive, the Court does not have the statutory authority to order such testing. This is compounded by a woman’s right to control her own body within the parameters of Federal and State Law outside of Family Law. Accordingly, even if the Family Court Act in the local and State Law was to be amended to allow some pre-natal paternity testing after six months of pregnancy to deal with issues such as a pregnant mother’s recklessness; drug use or smoking; choice of delivery methods; circumcision’s remain selective. This would not be something that could effectively survive challenges under HIPAA Privacy Laws and Personal

Privacy Laws under the United States Constitution.

The reality of the situation is that a man who believes he is the father of a unborn child, has no rights until the child is born. It is our experience that 85% of the cases when a man is seeking to obtain pre-natal testing or otherwise interfere with a woman’s pregnancy it is because that man wants to set himself up as an exceptional father and therefore must be more involved and caring than the average man. Only 15% of the cases where the pre-natal testing is sought do we find a man is seeking our advice due to an ulterior motive such as control; options of fleeing the jurisdiction before the birth; and financial planning.

The above being said, motherhood involves sacrifices that cannot be shared or understood of people who are not mothers. Motherhood and pregnancy are a very special time and children are not only our future, they will be our replacements. How parents treat each other during their children’s lives will affect not only this child, but it will have cumulative generational affect from one child to another. Families come in all different sizes and shapes in this day and age. It is important that people take care of themselves and each other especially when there is a child involved.

Men’s Rights Lawyers Free Consultation

When you need legal help with child custody, divorce, separation, and family law for men, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Emancipation of Minors

It seems like every child wonders when he or she can be treated like an adult. The answer usually varies depending on whether they are asking their parents or the legal system. In family law cases, emancipation of a minor (also called “divorce from parents”) refers to a court process through which a minor can become legally recognized as an independent adult. Through emancipation, a minor can take responsibility for his or her own welfare, and make the major decisions that parents typically would handle. Therefore, minors will generally need to establish their ability to independently live and support themselves before a court will grant emancipation.

Emancipation of Minors

This section provides information on the emancipation process, from the basics of emancipation law and age restrictions to the rights and responsibilities that come with it. In addition, some states have unique minor emancipation laws, which are listed in this section. There are also resources for parents, including a guide to when and if their legal obligations to emancipated children continue.

Benefits and Limitations of Emancipation

The benefits of emancipation are apparent to the minor: the ability to enter into contracts (including automobile and housing agreements), the ability to make their own education and medical decisions, and the ability to keep all of their income and determine how it is spent. For parents, they no longer need to support the child, financially or otherwise, and most child support will cease when the child is emancipated. However, emancipation does not make a minor an adult in terms of every law. Even an emancipated minor will have to wait until they reach the age of majority (usually 18) before they have the right to vote or get married. It should be noted that not every state provides the legal means for emancipation.

Requirements for Emancipation

Even though most emancipations are an effort to circumvent age requirements, there are still minimum ages that must be attained before a court will grant emancipation. These vary depending on the state, with some setting them as low as 14 and as high as 18 (where the age of majority is 19). There may also be notification requirements for the filing, and information that must be included in the emancipation filing, which can also vary depending on the jurisdiction. In most every case, a court will make a determination based on what it sees as the child’s best interests. Some factors would include the child’s financial and living situation, their maturity and decision-making ability, and any family history of abuse or neglect.

Procedure for Emancipation

In certain circumstances, emancipation is automatic. For example, once a minor joins the armed forces or gets married, they are generally considered legally emancipated. In all other cases, the minor will have to petition the court for emancipation. The threshold of evidence a minor must show in order to be granted emancipation will vary, but normally the minor must prove financial independence, adequate living arrangements, and sufficient maturity. As noted above, the court will look to the minor’s best interest when making an emancipation ruling.

Legal Assistance for Emancipation

While it may be possible to petition the court for emancipation on your own, it never hurts to have some expertise on your side. A qualified family attorney or a local legal aid office can provide more specific guidance regarding the local requirements and emancipation procedures.

Free Initial Consultation with Family Lawyer in Utah

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Child Visitation

Child Visitation

Biological parents have a right to seek child visitation or child custody. This is true regardless of whether the child’s parents were married when the child was born. Like other child custody decisions, courts use the best interest of the child to decide disputed child visitation or custody cases involving unmarried fathers. Unless evidence indicates otherwise, courts making child visitation decisions presume that involvement of both parents benefits the child.

Child Visitation

You Need to Establish Paternity if You’re Not Married

Fathers who were not married when their child was born must legally establish paternity in order to gain access to father’s rights. Often, this simply means both parents signing and filing an acknowledgment of paternity with the appropriate state agency or court, either at the time of the child’s birth or afterward. In disputed paternity cases, a legal process including DNA testing will conclude with a court order stating whether the man in question is the child’s biological father.

Once paternity is established, a father may pursue child visitation or other child custody rights. Many states offer simultaneous filing for recognition of paternity and for visitation or custody rights.

Child Visitation and Child Custody Agreements

Either before or after a legal process has begun, many parents negotiate a parenting agreement (also called a parenting plan). A parenting agreement can include a wide variety of details including which parent will have primary custody, specifics on the other parents visitation periods, particulars on which parent will make decisions regarding the child’s education, health care or religion, as well as procedures for the handling of potential changes to the arrangement.

Court Orders on Child Visitation or Custody

Either after securing a parenting agreement, or if unable to agree, either parent may petition the court for child visitation or custody help. Parents who can agree to a parenting plan may file it with a court, asking the judge to approve and incorporate it into a court order on visitation and/or custody. Having the agreement become part of a court order allows either parent a direct way to enforce his or her parental rights.

If the parents cannot agree on visitation or custody arrangements, either one may ask the court to grant his or her request through a contested hearing. Courts deciding visitation and other custody issues focus on the best interest of the child. Generally, courts presume that children benefits from having both parents involved in their upbringing. This presumption can be overcome if one parent can show that visitation or custody by the other parent would likely cause harm to the child. For example, evidence of domestic violence or drug problems could be used to argue against a parent having custody or visitation with a child.

It is rare for fathers to win sole custody of a child already being raised by the mother. To do so, an unmarried father would likely need to show that the mother is unfit to raise the child and/or that he has been the child’s primary caregiver. Child visitation or shared custody rights, however, allow many unmarried fathers to play a consistent role in their children’s’ lives.

Should arrangements need to change, the court can modify the child visitation or custody order, either after both parents agree to the change, or after one parent petitions the court to make the change. Some states allow parents to agree on modification to visitation arrangements without a courts approval, however, a modified updated court orders allow easier enforcement of agreed arrangements.

Get a Free Evaluation of Your Child Custody and Child Visitation Concerns

Each state has their own laws surrounding child custody, child visitation, and the role of unmarried fathers. In Utah, the quicker you act the better off you are. While unmarried fathers do have parental rights, understanding the boundaries and limitations of those rights is important moving forward. You should
contact a Utah child custody lawyer right away to protect your rights or you will lose your rights. A local family law attorney with experience in these matters can help you avoid problems and give you peace of mind. Get started today with a free legal evaluation of your case.

Free Consultation with a Utah Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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