By Chris Kramer
If you're a father going through a divorce, chances are you probably have some questions about what your rights and responsibilities are as father, particularly with regards to visitation to your child.
Marriage laws, and therefore divorce laws, are created by each state. As a result, your exact rights as a father depend on the laws and rules of the state and community in which you and/or your ex live.
The U.S. Constitution, as well as state and federal laws have established some basic rights, such as a right to be involved in your children's lives and to spend time with them, without the abuse or harassment from the other parent, as well as a right to have a say in where your children live.
If you and your spouse are going through a divorce, you don't have to face these and other questions alone. You can work with a divorce attorney in your area. Connecting with a local lawyer is easy—simply fill out the form on this page to get started.
A newer concept in the world of paternal rights is known as "Bird's Nest Custody."
This is a form of child custody agreement where the child never leaves the family residence. When the parents take their turns visiting with the child, the parents do the moving. So, when you want to go and visit your children, instead of having them come to you, you would go back to the family residence for a period of time.
This type of agreement is believed to put less stress on the child. However, for it to work in practice, it requires cooperation between the divorced parents. And, often, it requires three residences maintained between the two former spouses (each parent with their own residence, and the one that the child never leaves).
While bird's nest custody is not likely to become a mandatory part of a divorce agreement, it is an interesting option for parents looking to maintain a relationship with their children after divorce.
As a father, you may have something known as a "right of first refusal" after divorce.
A right of first refusal is a provision in a child custody order that capitalizes on a parent's time with his or her children.
This means, basically, if your ex-wife wants to have a babysitter, or use day care, you would have to get the option to watch the child first.
If your time is with your child is limited, or if you work a different schedule than your ex (for instance, she works days and you work nights), then you may be able to get the first dibs to watch the child. Other times a right of first refusal may be able to be used is if the other parent has is going on a vacation.
Ask a family law attorney if right of first refusal could be an option for you in your child custody arrangement.
If you are going through a divorce and need to know more about how to protect your rights as a father, speak with a local family law attorney today.