Child Custody | Family
How Much Does a Father’s Rights Lawyer Cost?
by Francesca Toledo, J.D.
Fathers have a right to participate in their children’s lives. When these rights are not protected, fathers frequently face challenging times.
If you’re facing a father’s rights issue, a lawyer can help fight for your rights in and out of court. You can expect to pay a retainer and hourly fees.
How Much Does a Father’s Rights Lawyer Cost?
A father’s rights lawyer is a lawyer with considerable knowledge of family law. Family law attorneys traditionally charge a retainer fee to begin working on a case. Subsequently or separately, they’ll also charge an hourly rate.
Lawyers who handle father’s rights issues typically ask for an upfront retainer between $3,000 and $5,000. Their hourly costs tend to be between $300 and $500 per hour.
Many individuals avoid seeking legal assistance due to high costs, but there are relatively affordable ways to handle father’s rights matters. An unundled attorney has the option to offer limited representation, stepping in only on important parts of a case.
A Father’s Rights Are Important
It is not uncommon for fathers’ rights to fall to the wayside. In most cases, mothers are given higher priority, leaving fathers struggling to protect their rights.
Fathers play an influential role in a child’s life. Deserving fathers should be given equal rights as mothers, and in some situations, even more rights, depending on the circumstances. Fathers should be allowed to provide their children with the support and guidance they need throughout their lives.
Often, fathers feel undeserving or weary of fighting for their rights. If you seek to protect your rights, discuss your case with a qualified father’s rights lawyer right away.
Fathers Face Bias in Family Law Cases
Fathers repeatedly face bias in divorce and child custody cases. Courts often grant mothers custody of children because they are viewed as the more stable and nurturing caregiver. It’s critical for children to have a mother’s love, but it’s wrong to deem fathers as less appropriate custodians.
When dealing with a father’s rights case, a lawyer can help advocate for your rights, implementing strategies to challenge the normal bias and highlighting your strengths as a father. We can connect you today with a custody lawyer in your area.
What Rights Do Fathers Have?
A father’s rights will depend on the circumstances at hand.
First, fathers have a right to custody of their children. There are many types of custody, and some cases require a mix of of custody types to construct the ideal situation. The details of your case will help a judge decide the most appropriate child custody.
Physical vs. Legal Custody
Physical custody refers to the child’s primary residence. When a parent has physical custody, they are responsible for the child on a day-to-day basis. The parent with physical custody is referred to as the custodial parent, and the other parent is the non-custodial parent. While the child does not live with the non-custodial parent, the court will often grant visitation rights.
A parent with legal custody has the right to make major decisions regarding the child’s life and upbringing, including schooling, healthcare, and religion. While one parent may have legal custody, it is common for both parents to share the responsibility. If both parents have legal custody, they must work together and maintain open communication to make the best possible decisions for their children.
When a judge grants one parent sole custody, they are solely responsible for their child. While not as common, certain situations may arise making one parent unfit and warranting the need for sole custody, for example, abuse or drug use.
In a sole custody arrangement, the non-custodial parent does not have physical or legal rights to the child. They can, however, have visitation if the court feels it is safe and appropriate.
Joint custody, as the name infers, allows both parents to share custody of their children. Joint custody can look differently for everyone, depending on the case.
Judges allow parents to share joint physical and legal custody. This means the child will spend time under each parent’s roof, subject to a schedule, and both parents will jointly make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.
In other scenarios, a judge may grant joint physical, but not legal custody, or joint legal, but not physical custody.
The ideal custody arrangement will rely on both parents, their situations, and what is best for the children.
Visitation rights allow the non-custodial parent to spend time with their children. The court will first determine the custody arrangement for a child, and then decide whether visitation is recommended, what kind of visitation, and a schedule.
Visitation can either be supervised or unsupervised. Supervised visitation allows the non-custodial parent to spend time with their child, but they cannot do so alone. This kind of visitation requires the supervision of another individual, usually a family member or social worker. Supervised visitation can occur at agreed-upon locations, like someone’s home or a park, or a supervised visitation center.
Unsupervised visitation permits the non-custodial parent to see their child without supervision. This type of visitation may also include overnight visits.
Whether or not you share custody of your child, you may be entitled to visitation rights. It is crucial to fight for your visitation rights, as your child depends on you.
A common misconception says that mothers are the only parent entitled to child support. This is untrue.
Depending on the details of your case and custody arrangement, you may be entitled to get child support from your child’s mother. Courts consider specific factors when determining who pays child support and for what amount. These are some factors they consider:
- Each parents’ income
- Expenses associated with raising the child
- The child’s age
- Whether either spouse is remarried or benefits from a partner’s income
States handle child support differently. Many states consider both parents’ incomes, while others only consider that of the non-custodial parent. Other states make decisions regarding child support based on the time each parent gets with the child.
As a father, you may have a right to child support. To better understand your eligibility for child support, speak with a child custody attorney in your state.
Do Unmarried Fathers Have Rights?
Your rights as an unmarried father depend on your state’s laws. In many states, unmarried fathers do not inherently have rights. Mothers have sole physical and legal custody.
To establish your rights as a father, you need to provide solid, legal proof of paternity. Establishing paternity can be done in various ways:
- Voluntary acknowledgment. If both you and the child’s mother acknowledge you are the child’s father, you can file a signed affidavit with the court.
- Genetic testing. Genetic testing is frequently used to establish paternity, taking DNA samples from the father and child to prove whether a biological relationship exists.
- Court. One parent can petition the court to help determine paternity. During your paternity proceeding, the judge will consider various details, including the relationship between mother and father, the time of conception, and genetic testing results, if conducted. If a judge decides enough evidence exists to establish paternity, you will be legally recognized as the child’s father.
- Already existing parent-child relationship. In some states, if you hold yourself out to be the child’s father and are acting in such a capacity, including providing emotional and financial support, you may be entitled to establish paternity.
How paternity is confirmed will depend on your state’s laws.
Can My Rights as a Father Ever Be Taken Away?
Yes, in some instances, a judge may terminate a father’s rights.
It is not a common occurrence for a father to be deprived of his rights, as judges do everything possible to keep a child’s father in their lives. Nonetheless, if it is in the best interest of the child to take away your rights, it can be done.
These are the most common reasons for taking away a father’s rights:
- Child abuse
- Alcohol or drug addiction
- Failure to adequately support the child
- Mental health
If your rights are terminated, you may have a chance to reinstate them. If you’re facing possible termination of rights, discuss your case with a father’s rights attorney right away.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Fight for My Rights as a Father?
The topic of father’s rights is a delicate one. You may elect to handle your case on your own, but you run the risk of reaching an unfavorable outcome and making your situation difficult to fix.
A father’s rights lawyer can advocate for your rights. They can take on these pertinent tasks:
- Providing legal advice
- Gathering relevant evidence
- Building a strong case
- Drafting and filing legal documents
- Representing you in court
If you’re pursuing legal guidance but fear legal fees, you have options. An unbundled lawyer may be the answer.
An unbundled lawyer is a lawyer like any other, but they also offer services that are different from a traditional attorney. While unbundled lawyers can offer full representation, they’re also allowed to perform limited tasks, while you take on others. Working with an unbundled lawyer gives you the legal help you need while keeping costs at a minimum, with rates starting between $500 and $1,500.
Unbundled Legal Help has access to a vast network of skilled attorneys. We believe everyone should have access to quality legal representation.