What rights do unmarried fathers have in Nebraska?

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2023 | Paternity |

Many fathers play a very important role in the lives of their children. They may provide emotional support, guidance and financial resources. Their presence in a child’s life can potentially enrich their childhood and strengthen their self-esteem.

However, not every father in Nebraska truly understands his rights or the best way to assert them. Unmarried fathers often think of themselves as having few rights and may therefore fail to assert themselves despite desiring a strong connection with their children. When men learn more about their rights as unmarried fathers, they may have an easier time asserting those rights and preserving the relationship they have with their children.

Fit fathers have the right to parenting time and authority

State law in Nebraska does not differentiate between men and women when it comes to parental rights in general. Both sexes have an equal opportunity to play an active role in the lives of the children in their families. Most fathers have the option of going to the Nebraska family courts and asking for parenting time or visitation. They can also seek decision-making authority to have a say in the child’s religious observances, education and healthcare. Unmarried fathers may need to take an extra step if they want to have full legal involvement in the lives of their children.

Fathers can ask the state to acknowledge them

Married fathers typically have their name included on a child’s birth certificate automatically. The same is not true for unmarried fathers. They will need to either have the mother acknowledge them or assert their role in court. If the mother agrees to acknowledge the father’s paternity, the two can fill out paperwork either at the hospital after the birth of the child or at any point while they are still a minor to add the father’s name to the birth certificate.

However, if the mother does not wish to cooperate with the father, he still has options and rights. Unmarried fathers can ask for the state to order genetic testing so that they can add their name to the birth certificate of a child. Once a man has officially established his paternity, he will then be in a position to ask for the same parental rights as any other father would have, including the rights to visitation or shared custody.

Understanding the rules that apply to paternity and custody matters is a good starting point for a man whose rights have not yet been formally recognized. Seeking legal guidance can help an individual to act on these rights accordingly.