We are asked a lot of questions on the topic of men’s rights to their children. There are a lot of myths out there that the court is going to favor the mother over the father when it determines who the child should live with and when the father is going to get to see the kids. However, for the most part, nowadays, judges generally start off with the position that the parents should get equal custody. Now, a lot goes in to the end determination such as:
- How old are the kids?
- Is the child breastfeeding?
- Are there any prior criminal charges that would negatively impact either parent’s ability to parent?
- Do the parents live close to each other?
- Are there other parental figures that come into the equation?
- Are there siblings of other marriages, and if so, how well do the kids get along?
- Has there ever been any domestic violence?
The list goes on and on. All that being said, the court is going to look out for the kids and make a determination on what is in the kids’ best interests. They are not going to ding the father or put the father behind the mother at the starting line when they look at the issue. All things being equal, there is generally an equal custody presumption at the beginning of the case.
Register for Paternal Rights in Idaho
However, Idaho has a peculiar statute that requires fathers to register with the state, specifically the vital statistics department with the Department of Health and Welfare, if they believe they are the father of a child and they are not married. There are a lot of ins and outs to this law and the case law from the Idaho Supreme Court interpreting it. Some of the intricacies involved include:
- Is your name on the birth certificate?
- Were you living together at the time?
- Does the mother agree or disagree whether you are the father?
- Has there been an adoption proceeding filed already?
However, the gist of the law is that if you want to protect your rights to the child, and there is any doubt (in your head or the mother’s) that the child is yours, you should take the precautionary steps and register with the department of health and welfare. Now, you don’t have to do this if you are married or your name has already been placed on the birth certificate. But, if you are unmarried and not on the birth certificate, you need to register.
If you fail to take the steps outline in the statute, you may lose your rights to the child forever. The mother is not required to give you notice if she chooses to adopt the baby to another family. If the state decides that the mother’s parental rights should be terminated, the state is not required to give you notice unless you register your rights.
So, the moral of the story is, if you are not married, not on the birth certificate, the mother disagrees that you are the father, but you think that you are, you must register to protect your father’s rights to the child.
For compassionate and experienced Boise custody lawyers for fathers in Idaho who understand the importance of protecting you rights as a parent, contact us today.