Child custody cases are generally resolved when a court is able to determine how best to serve the needs and interests of the children impacted by the decisions. Whether a mother or father is granted primary physical custody of a child will depend on the circumstances of each case, though it is important for fathers to remember that a presumption does not exist in favor of granting this right to mothers. In Washington and jurisdictions throughout the nation, fathers can fight for the physical and legal custody of their children.

Unmarried fathers can face more child custody challenges than married or soon-to-be divorced fathers due, in part, to their need to establish paternity over their kids. Paternity is the biological bond that proves a child is related to their father. There are tests that a father and child can take to prove their genetic relationship.

Once paternity is established, it is up to a father to maintain their important connection. Just as mothers may provide the loving, nurturing, caring environments that children need to thrive, so too may fathers give their children these important opportunities to flourish.

In addition to having the right to have their children in their homes, unmarried fathers may also fight for their rights to legal decision-making power over their kids. This right relates to a man’s right to legal custody over his kids and may be shared or exclusively given to the children’s mothers.

Fathers’ rights advocates serve divorced and unmarried fathers by working toward building and maintaining relationships with their children. Men who wish to find support as they prepare for child custody hearings and reviews may wish to utilize the support of these advocates.