Fathers’ Rights During Pregnancy: Family Law Basics
When a happy couple made up of a mother and father become pregnant and then get engaged, everything may seem to be going well. As the pregnancy progresses, they may begin to argue more and more, and the mother may decide she does not want the father in her or the baby’s life any longer. Additionally, she may decide she does not even want his name on the baby’s birth certificate. However, the father has already decided he will be an active part of the baby’s life. What happens then? What are the father’s rights in Missouri?
Establishing paternity before your child is born is not allowed. When the mother and father stop being a couple while the mother is pregnant, the father must wait until after the baby is born to file a paternity suit to establish his rights to parentage and any custodial rights. However, the unwed father can go to court to ensure his presence during the birth and the addition of his name to the birth certificate. To accomplish this, the father can proceed with a legal action that will file an injunction.
The judge may look at the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA), which is the basis of legal rights to a child, the standard of all things parentage, and statutes surrounding birth. However, the judge will note that the UPA does not address the rights of a father or mother pre-birth, as the act is not much help with its talk of “presumed mother” and “presumed father.” The court may not be able to help with anything pre-birth, but they could easily remedy the birth certificate situation when the child is born.
If you or a loved one is struggling to establish their role as a biological father during pregnancy, reach out to an experienced family law attorney from a trusted law firm. At Masterson Law, we offer various legal services that work in your and your family’s best interests. Contact us today for a consultation at (417) 522-1280.
Fathers’ Rights to Time Off During Pregnancy & After the Child is Born
In the United States, most fathers can expect to not be paid for time off following the birth or adoption of their child. New parents – whether they are the mother or the father – rely on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to keep their jobs while they are off for up to twelve weeks after birth or adoption. This means fathers may return to their jobs after being off for three months and not being paid. The FMLA does not guarantee any pay; it simply protects your job if you qualify. To be eligible, you must work within seventy-five miles of your home, work for a company that has at least fifty employees, and you must have worked there for a minimum of 1,250 hours the previous year.
Along with the federal laws, twenty-five states have bolstered FMLA protections, many even requiring employees to pay for maternity and paternity leaves. Within the past few years, the states required to pay for maternity leave are New York, California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey.
Unfortunately, Missouri is not one of these states, meaning that many new fathers are unable to take time off work during or after their child’s birth due to the need to earn an income. This can complicate things when it comes to establishing reasonable and equitable child support and child custody arrangements. If you are facing family law challenges due to your inability to take time off work as a new father, please contact Masterson Law for assistance.
How Do Fathers’ Legal Rights During Pregnancy Affect Abortion and Delivery?
A judge or court may look at the issue of a father being present at birth and address it as a right. However, fathers have few rights regarding the termination of the pregnancy.
The court started looking into abortion cases and found only the mother and the State should have an interest in what happens to the fetus before birth. The court quoted lines from Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which states that women bear children, so they are more directly affected by the pregnancy and have a fundamental interest in it. They also found laws that support that interest and state that mothers should say who can be in the room during delivery. This means that, unfortunately, the father does not have a right to be in the delivery room.
The Supreme Court recognizes the fundamental rights a person has to parent their child, even if the parents are not together or married, but the father does not have the same parental rights as the mother pre-birth. So, a mother cannot be forced into giving birth if she wants to terminate the pregnancy.
Our reliable legal team will provide your family with support and any necessary information for your specific case. Contact an experienced Springfield, Missouri family law attorney today from Masterson Law for expert legal advice at (417) 522-1280.
Do Fathers Have Any Rights During Pregnancy?
If the court makes a decision in Missouri, they are following statutory language and the right to privacy. It may seem discriminatory that a father who wants to actively be present in a child’s life after they are born has no rights pre-birth. Sometimes, there is a conflict with the expectant mother that will create stress that could harm the child. But legal action with the help of a skilled attorney can assert parentage after birth, ensure his name appears on the birth certificate, and establish physical and custodial rights.
However, a father only has one chance to be present at the birth of his child, so not recognizing him legally may only demean the father and his fatherhood. Maybe the laws under the Uniform Parentage Act will eventually allow for the father’s presence in the delivery room as long as it does not mean maternal or fetal harm and is in the best interest of the child.
Rights of Father of Unborn Child Regarding Healthcare
Fathers who are not married to the mother or are expecting to no longer be in a relationship with a woman may question what rights a father has to his child. Any decisions to be made related to the pregnancy, medical testing, adoption, or medical care may significantly impact the child once they are born. These decisions typically fall on the mother to make for the unborn child. However, knowing what rights a father does have can help parents make the best decisions before the birth of the child.
Pregnant women should have medical screening routinely to monitor the health of the mother and baby. When a father helps pay for prenatal care for the mother, this demonstrates the commitment to the baby. This will only help establish paternity and parental rights after the child’s birth.
If the mother and the father disagree about what decisions to make, a mother’s wishes will outweigh the father’s rights. This is mostly because health care decisions are an individual’s right. A state court found that a mother’s decision to keep the father out of the delivery is her right to privacy and a way to protect her health.
The father of the child may want to check on the mother’s test results, go to the doctor’s appointment, or be involved in making health or financial decisions. To do any of these things, they need the consent of mom. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, has privacy rules that prevent health professionals from sharing medical information regarding a patient without their consent. No one is entitled to access another person’s records without their authorization.
Reach out to Masterson Law today for any family legal issues you could be having. From child custody concerns to child abuse cases, we cover it all. Follow us at Masterson Law for our latest updates.