Father looking at sonThis is the next post in our series on the rights of Virginia fathers. The last article discussed how Virginia Family Court Judges will often use the “status quo” when making a custody decision. This is due to the fact that one of the things a Judge considers is the historical relationship between the child and each parent. Absent a change in circumstances, many Courts will hesitate to vary away from the historical relationship. In this article we will discuss another important topic – how fathers can proceed when paternity is in dispute. If you require assistance then contact our office today to speak with an attorney.

Virginia is like other states in that it does not recognize the rights of a father until paternity has been established. This means that a dad will have no right to custody or visitation if paternity is in dispute. Under such circumstances, if the mother wishes to withhold information about the child’s schooling or healthcare, she may do so. It is also means that a dad will have no right to pick up his child at a certain time, even if the parties have traditionally employed such an arrangement. This lack of rights, however, cuts both ways. A dad will not be under any obligation to pay child support, to pay a portion of the child’s medical expenses, or to provide healthcare when there is no order in place.

It is important to understand that a father’s obligations can still accrue when there’s yet to be a finding of paternity. If, for example, that the parents go to court to establish paternity and visitation for a child, and also a petitioner for child support has been filed, if the father is then determined to be the biological father, his child support obligation will be as of the filing of the petition for child support.

If you are a father and you require assistance with a paternity case then contact our office today.