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What is the Difference Between Paternal Rights and Parental Rights?

What is the Difference Between Paternal Rights and Parental Rights?

Paternal rights and parental rights play different roles in making key decisions. These rights impact custody determinations and other related issues. They also affect the parent’s right to make decisions regarding their child’s upbringing. However, many may not understand the distinction between these terms and their implications. 

Paternity refers to the legal recognition of a man as the father of a child. Establishing paternity is crucial for child custody, visitation rights, and child support obligations. 

Where paternity is unclear or contested, DNA testing may be required. The DNA test helps determine the biological relationship between a father and child. 

After paternity is established, both the father and child gain rights and responsibilities under the law.

Why Do Paternity Determinations Matter?

Paternity determinations carry significant emotional weight for all parties involved. Knowing one’s biological father can give a child a sense of identity and belonging. The parent may also gain some satisfaction and an increased sense of closeness.

From a legal standpoint, establishing paternity ensures that children receive financial support. Paternity can impact access to benefits such as health insurance and inheritance rights. Additionally, paternity determinations affect parental rights and responsibilities, including custody and visitation arrangements and disputes. They can impact the parent’s ability to care for the child.

What Are Parental Rights?

Parents have a broad range of legal privileges and responsibilities regarding their children. They have the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing

These decisions include:

  • How the child should be educated
  • What extracurricular activities, if any, the child is involved with
  • The child’s healthcare, including decisions about treatment 
  • The child’s religious upbringing

Non-custodial parents have the right to request reviews and appeals. They also have the right to receive information about their child support case.

Parental rights also come with certain duties, which might include:

  • Duty to provide financial support
  • Duty to maintain a nurturing and supportive environment for the child’s well-being
  • Duty to provide child support and hospital coverage
  • Duty to be genetically tested for paternity

This is not a complete list, and not every point will apply to everyone. Parents’ rights and duties may be tailored to meet the child’s needs and circumstances.

How Do Paternal Rights Differ from Parental Rights?

Paternal rights and parental rights both relate to the legal relationship between a parent and child. However, paternal rights exist once paternity has been established. They relate to a biological or legally recognized father’s rights and obligations. These rights may include custody, visitation, and child support obligations.

On the other hand, parental rights can apply to anyone with a significant caregiving role in a child’s life. Mothers, fathers, adoptive parents, and legal guardians can all have parental rights.

Parental rights are usually established through marriage, adoption, or court orders. They encompass a broader range of responsibilities. Parental rights and duties involve physical custody and making decisions regarding the upbringing of the child. 

Contact a Monmouth County Family Law Attorney for Help With Child Custody or Paternity Issues

Understanding the differences between paternal rights and parental rights is essential. Whether you are a biological parent or not, you should consult an attorney to protect your rights. With a skilled family law attorney’s guidance, you can ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Whether establishing paternity or asserting parental rights, we are here to help. We provide compassionate and knowledgeable representation in all aspects of family law. Contact us today at (732) 747-1882 to schedule your free consultation with The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC. You can trust us to advocate for your rights and the best interests of your family.

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