Your Children and Your Legal Rights
Having a child outside of marriage has become increasingly common. According to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics, 38.5 percent of all children born in the U.S. in 2006 were born to unmarried mothers. That compares to just 18 percent in 1980.
When a child’s parents aren’t married, legal action must be taken to establish paternity, officially called allocation of parental rights.
Representing Mothers and Fathers
I’m J. Burton Hunter, III, a West Virginia, family law attorney who can help you establish the paternity of your child or children.
I represent women who wish to establish paternity so they can obtain child support from their children’s fathers. I also represent fathers who want to have a right to participate in their children’s lives.
I more frequently represent women who are struggling to support children without the financial help of the father. I will file for an allocation of parental rights and represent the mother as we establish a parenting plan and file for child support.
Unwed Fathers’ Rights
Unfortunately, many men do not understand that they have no legal right to child custody or visitation without an allocation of parental rights. This leaves them unable to participate in their children’s lives. Any access to your children is controlled by the child’s mother. If she decides she doesn’t want them to see you anymore, or if she decides to move out of state, you have no legal recourse.
Allocation of parental rights gives fathers the right to establish a formal child custody and visitation arrangement along with the obligation of paying child support. Fathers can also participate equally in important decisions about the child’s upbringing. They have a voice in deciding what schools the child will go to, what doctors they will see and what church they will attend. Without establishing paternity, unmarried fathers have no such rights.
To learn more about how a lawyer can help, please contact my law office in Buckhannon, West Virginia. Call 304-472-7477 to arrange a free initial consultation.