In the past 10 years, the number of unwed fathers has jumped over 20 percent. Unfortunately, many of those fathers are not an influential part of their children’s lives. Parenting experts believe this may be because unwed men are not aware of their fathers’ rights and responsibilities. These advocates feel that fathers would participate more fully in their children’s lives if they knew how.
As soon as a man learns of a pregnancy for which he may be responsible, he can begin to establish paternal rights. Louisiana, like many states, has established a putative father registry where a man can declare himself to be the father of a child. Claiming paternity gives a man advantages regarding the adoption or custody of the child.
If a man is established as the biological father, he will still have to petition for custody rights if he and the mother are not planning to raise the child together. Apart from custody, questions about visitation rights may exist. These issues are often difficult to confront, so having legal counsel is recommended. Family advocates suggest that unmarried parents work together to establish a parenting plan before going to court.
Whether or not a man is granted custody, he will likely be required to pay child support if he claims fathers’ rights. Numerous factors are considered when the court determines the amount of support a father may have to pay. Having a Louisiana lawyer to represent him will ensure his rights are protected and a fair resolution is achieved.
Source: fatherhood.about.com, “Things an Unwed Father Needs to Know“, Wayne Parker, Accessed on Jan. 27, 2017