A man who is not a child’s biological father still has parental rights in certain scenarios. One of the common situations is that a non-biological father believes the child is his, and acts like it around other people.
When are Non-Biological Fathers Given Parental Rights?
There are factors that affect custody and visitation rights of divorcees with children, but a non-biological father is a special case.
There are states that recognize ‘psychological parents.’ In a non-biological father’s case, emotional parental feelings and acts exist as a parent normally would to a child. Courts consider a child’s best interests whenever they grant parental rights, even to non-biological parents. It may be detrimental for a child to sever a relationship with a non-parent, if there are existing emotional and psychological ties.
Non-biological fathers also get visitation rights when they pay for child support or perform acts of fatherhood to a child.
The Presence of the Biological Father
The biological father’s presence adds a layer of complexity to custody or visitation rights of a non-biological father, but it is still possible to get parental rights.
Before granting custody or visitation, there are two required actions which are:
- Determining parentage
- Custody and visitation rights
Courts do not award visitation or custody to persons not considered as parents. It is paramount that a man must first prove that he is a father to a child before getting the rights. A child custody lawyer helps you sift through the details of appearing in court, if necessary, or filing for parental rights.
Court Considerations when Granting Parental Rights
The court will always put the child’s best interests when granting parental rights, whether the parents are biological or not. These are some of the factors that courts will consider before making a decision:
- The child’s age plays an important role in awarding rights. A child that is too young may not be able to form a meaningful parent relationship. An older child’s emotional and psychological ties with a parent can turn a case in one’s favor.
- The support of the mother for the biological or non-biological father bears significant weight in awarding parental rights.
- The depth of the relationship between father and child.
- The absence or presence of the biological father. Biological fathers who surrender their parental rights, dead or missing provides a non-biological father an advantage. Non-biological fathers must then prove a strong relationship with the child.
These considerations are important for the well-being and best interests of the child or children involved.
Non-biological fathers do not have to lose heart when they get a divorce. As long as they establish a strong connection and relationship with their child, they are likely to get custody or visitation.