Understanding Dad's Law and Legal Services for Dad's

Dad’s law has changed custody-based legalities and protocols. Read a guide to understanding dad’s law and available legal services for dads today.

Divorce is one of the most severe causes of stress in the world. This is as true for the husbands as it is for the wives. When children are involved the stress spreads family-wide, especially when disputes over child custody arise.

The stereotypical roles of parents and households are different today than in past decades. Previously, fathers had fewer rights pursuant to child visitation and custody. Dad’s law has changed the nature of custody-based legalities and protocols. Read ahead for a guide to understanding dad’s law and available legal services for dads today.

Brief Overview of How Parental Rights Work in America

Parental and household roles have changed dramatically in America over time. These changes are even more predominant in recent times since the legalization of same-sex marriages and advocacy for gender non-specifics increased with an almost sudden ferocity. Both parents are often working full-time jobs to support their households due to economic downturns, inflation and lopsided cost-of-living expenses. Interracial, same-sex and life-partnership-based households are common in every U.S. state now as well. Human rights along with social and domestic diversity are emphasized online, in the news and in the legal system. Still, despite the notable increase in diversity, divorces in the U.S. are still a common occurrence. 

Divorces where children are involved are especially challenging in modern times. Fathers used to automatically receive custody of their children post-divorce as per Old English common law. By 1839 women received permission to request custody of any children up to seven years old. The Tender Years Doctrine was enacted in 1873, which changed the course of custody rights by stating mothers are best suited to provide care for their own children. The U.S. followed suit as a young country all the way through recent times, when dad’s law was enacted to give fathers more rights to pursue custody of their children.

Dad’s Law 101

Dad’s law is an overview of rights fathers have pursuant to custody of their own children. Each biological parent has the right to pursue visitation and custody of their children. Custody disputes take place between married and unmarried couples alike and the same standards as dictated by the courts apply to each scenario. Fathers have traditionally received less leniency and father-friendly court decisions regarding custody for nearly two centuries. Fathers must also go through extra steps to prove biological paternity of a child.

Dad’s law seeks to level the playing field for fathers in their pursuit of custody and visitation rights. Essentially, this means fathers are taken more equally into consideration regarding all matters of visitation and custody regarding their children. This also means fathers are subjected to the same household and child-rearing standards as are mothers by the courts. The best way to utilize dad’s law is to understand the rights it provides you during your divorce and custody disputes. 

Types of Cases to Which Dad’s Law Pertains

Dad’s law pertains to divorce cases where the couple enters a custody dispute over visitation and custody of shared children. Dad’s law also pertains to cases where unmarried couples enter custody disputes over visitation and custody of their shared children. Aspects of the law also apply to paternity tests and proof of biological paternity, which therefore grants certain rights to qualified fathers. Dad’s law, also referred to as father’s rights law, applies to a wide range of additional case types and scenarios, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Father’s rights pre-birth

  • Dad’s rights regarding abortion decisions

  • Father’s rights and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

  • Dad’s rights to his children’s medical and school records

  • Unmarried father’s rights pursuant to adoption

  • Parenting time interference

  • Father’s rights and preventing malicious parent syndrome

  • Dad’s rights to shared vs. sole custody

Dad’s Law and Biological Paternity

The first step a father must take in a custody dispute is to establish biological paternity. Paternity tests are required when divorcing couples negotiate for either visitation or custody rights. Paternity tests protect fathers from spouse’s acts of infidelity. Paternity tests also protect a father pursuant to visitation and custody rights, especially when the mother is attempting to deny the father his basic rights for any number of reasons. The bottom line is this: Fathers are only capable of pursuing and subsequently exercising parental rights once biological paternity is both established then validated by a U.S. court of law.

Visitation and Custody

Visitation and custody are different issues. Visitation is monitorable under supervised conditions in the presence of an official social worker or the parent with primary custody. Visitation is also possible without such supervision. Child custody consists of various types of custody arrangements. These arrangements do not involve supervision and allow for each parent to spend time with their child as agreed in writing and via the courts.

Family Law and Father’s Rights Attorneys - Average Costs

The average costs to hire a family law or father’s rights attorney vary greatly based on where you live, the details of your case, how hard the opposing parent fights you in court and how long it takes to resolve your case. Family law attorneys charge between $150 and $200 per hour on average. Uncontested case flat-rate fees range between $800 and $1,500 per case. Cases going to trial might require an initial deposit ranging between $1,500 and $3,000, with additional hourly fees, surcharges and expenses applied as the case continues.

Pro Bono and Legal Aid Lawyers for Father’s Rights Cases

The American Bar Association (ABA) facilitates the Child Custody & Adoption Pro Bono Project to help qualified people who cannot afford family law attorneys get the representation they need. Legal aid is typically reserved for low-income clients with disability, housing, and abuse issues. Some legal aid attorneys do focus on family law and custody disputes, however. This is especially true if the basic parental rights of one parent are unjustifiably denied or the law firm needs to complete its mandatory pro bono hours as required by the ABA. Consult with LawHelp.org to locate low-cost or free legal assistance near you. 

Nationwide Father’s Rights Lawyers Near You

Search Google or Bing using a “family and child custody law” query plus your zip code to locate quality dad’s law lawyers near you. Lawyers.com, LawInfo, LegalMatch and Attorneys.com are all viable resources for locating excellent family law and father’s rights attorneys in your area. Some of the best nationwide family law and father’s rights law firms available today include: