With the help of a Chattanooga maternity lawyer, you could better protect your rights as a mother from child custody contests. An experienced attorney could help you gather evidence that shows the court that you serve your child’s best interests. Reach out today to learn what more could be done.
If an unmarried couple has a child whose paternity has yet to be established, the mother may have rights that the father may not be entitled to in a Chattanooga child custody case. Until the court establishes the father’s rights, the mother has full control and custody of that child. It is vitally important for the possible father in that scenario to present the issue of paternity to the court quickly and establish their parental rights as soon as possible. Otherwise, they have no control or say in their ability to see the child.
In Tennessee, a mother has full custody and control of a child born out of wedlock unless the court establishes otherwise. In most circumstances, the father and mother will have joint custodial rights to the child once paternity is confirmed through DNA testing.
Either parent could gain custody of their child if one parent can prove to the court that the other parent is unable or unwilling to care for the child because of substance abuse, criminal activity, socioeconomic status, or the like.
Married couples have equal custodial rights, and a parenting plan must be created to establish and guide each party’s visitation rights with the child during the week, over the weekend, and for holidays. The parents have a level playing field during custody deliberations in the process of divorce.
An unmarried mother has rights to full custody of her child unless paternity is legally established and the court issues a subsequent order granting joint custody for the parties or naming the father as the child’s primary custodian, both of which are commonly done. An unmarried father has fewer rights than a married father at the outset of the case because the unmarried father must take the additional step of establishing his paternity.
The most common scenario in which a mother loses custody of her child during a custody case is when the mother has substance abuse issues, participates in criminal activity, or is unable to provide the child with basic necessities, like food, shelter, clothing, and education.
If the mother is deemed unfit, the father would be the court’s first choice to have custody of the child, provided that the father can prove he is fit to have custody.
Neglect in Chattanooga is considered to be one’s failure to provide the child with bare necessities or failure to protect the child from harm. A parent can be deemed neglectful if they cannot provide their child with food, shelter, clothing, or medical care, or if the child is getting into an inordinate amount of trouble with school or the law.
The best resource available for mothers to protect their rights during Chattanooga custody cases are experienced attorneys who specialize in those cases. Each cases and family is different, but a skilled attorney can create an individualized plan of action and prove to the court that their client will fully provide for their child and prioritize their child’s best interests. If a mother has any question about her rights during a custody or support case, they should contact an attorney immediately.
All mother’s have rights when it comes to their children. Baring extraneous circumstances, your rights as a mother are inherent. That said, a divorce and challenges to custody could place that inherent right in jeopardy. To better protect your rights, reach out to a Chattanooga maternity lawyer. A dedicated professional stands ready to defend your claim to custody.