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Unmarried Fathers

What Rights Do Unmarried Fathers Have in Oregon?

Even if you never married the mother of your child, you have a right to seek child custody and parenting time. Before a court will award an unmarried father parenting time or custody, it will first have to establish that you are the biological father of the child. After paternity is established, usually through a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity or DNA testing, an unmarried father will be able to argue for child custody, parenting time and child support. At the law office of Barbara M. Palmer in Eugene, Oregon, we provide experienced representation to men trying to establish rights as fathers.

When unmarried fathers seek parenting time, they are usually successful. Unless there is a questionable past history, a court will most likely grant the father some amount of parenting time. It is in the best interests of a child for the child to have a good relationship with their father. To speak to a family law attorney about fathers' rights, contact us to schedule an appointment.

Misconceptions About Fathers' Rights

Many people still have misconceptions when it comes to the rights of unmarried fathers. Mothers may feel they have the right to deny a father's right to parenting time on the belief that they know what is in the best interests of a child. But Oregon courts have long held that if an unmarried father establishes paternity, he has the same rights as does a married father. The courts will look to what is in the best interests of a child, meaning whether a mother or a father should have child custody and parenting time.

Child Custody Evaluations

Sometimes, it is impossible for parents to reach an agreement when it comes to child-related issues. If they cannot reach a decision, courts will decide these issues by what it believes is appropriate. One way this is done is by conducting a child custody evaluation. While this does not occur as frequently in Oregon as in other places, it can still serve as a method to resolve disputes about fathers' rights in a divorce or paternity action.

If you have questions about unmarried fathers' rights to child custody and parenting time, you should contact a lawyer at the law office of Barbara M. Palmer for an initial consultation.