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My father, when he went, made my childhood a gift of a half a century. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


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Child Custody and a Father's Rights PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Patriot Law Group Rhode Island   
Each state has different laws related to family law matters such as divorce, custody, paternity and support. What happens in one state may be totally different than a neighboring state.

PROVIDENCE, RI, March 07, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Each state has different laws related to family law matters such as divorce, custody, paternity and support. What happens in one state may be totally different than a neighboring state.

 In Rhode Island, for example, the law technically views mothers and fathers equally when it comes to child custody and parenting time. However, fathers, especially unmarried fathers, often feel that they have been overlooked and their roles in their childrens' lives have not been valued. Many men have to undertake legal action in order to preserve their relationships with their children. They often face numerous obstacles as they try to exercise their rights as parents.

 Parental Alienation

 In hotly contested custody battles, it is not uncommon for one parent to try to alienate the children from the other parent. This is particularly true when mothers already have primary custody and most of the parenting time and want to keep it that way. A father seeking increased time with his children may find that he is fighting an uphill battle against his ex-wife's sometimes very subtle efforts to insert a wedge between the children and their father. If successful, such campaigns can leave children unwilling to spend more time with their fathers. A judge who sees that a child is afraid of or dislikes his or her father is unlikely to grant additional parenting time.

 Unfortunately, even though the courts are supposed to protect the best interests of the child, judges are only human and can have their judgment clouded by a mother's efforts to discredit the father. That makes it particularly important to have legal advocacy from an experienced family law attorney who can cut through lies and stories to present the truth to the court.

 Unmarried Fathers and Paternity Tests

 The law presumes that any children born to a married couple are the man's children. Unmarried fathers, however, can experience significant difficulties when trying to participate in their children's lives. They may not be acknowledged as the father by the mother, forcing them to take a DNA test to prove paternity. Unmarried fathers may find their positions particularly delicate when the mother's' husband seeks to adopt the children or the mother tries to move out of the area with her husband and children.

 Accusations of Domestic Violence Against Fathers

 A time-honored tactic in custody wars is for one parent to accuse the other of domestic violence and abuse. Usually, the mother accuses the father of these crimes so that he will be found unfit and receive little or no access to his children. This puts the father in the challenging position of being forced to prove a negative.

 Help for Fathers in Rhode Island

 In the past, fathers who failed to pay child support suffered the consequences. They had their wages garnished and were sometimes thrown in jail. Today Rhode Island offers fathers child support obligations assistance if they have lost their jobs or their gross monthly income has decreased since the original support order. The Rhode Island Child Support Services department has begun referring fathers who are unemployed or underemployed to a new program that helps these fathers obtain long-term gainful employment so they are able to help support their children. This program requires the fathers to cooperate fully with the program leaders and attend all appointments, classes and court dates to remain qualified for assistance.

 Tips for Fathers Seeking Custody or Visitation

 Men need to protect themselves if they have become engaged in a custody battle with their ex or soon-to-be-ex. First, if they have been forced to move out of the marital home, they should try to stay nearby. Proximity is crucial. Second, they should document everything they do with their children. Keep a calendar, and whenever possible, retain receipts. Third, never give up. Persistence counts - with children and with the court.

 Contact Patriot Law Group Rhode Island

 If you are a father seeking to maintain contact with your children. Call us to learn more about our firm or to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Rhode Island family law attorneys. Call 1-800-299-PATRIOT to schedule an appointment at any of our RI offices.


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