It is not uncommon for unmarried couples to conceive children. Once a child is born, the rights and responsibilities of both parents are typically well defined. But what about the period of time between the conception and the birth? The mother's role during this time frame is obvious, but what rights and responsibilities do fathers have?
This seems like a gray area as mothers typically make the important decisions regarding healthcare and medical testing. But a father's involvement during the pregnancy can also prove extremely important. In fact, there are situations where a father's input could be vital.
While it is a mother's responsibility to take proper care of herself so as to protect the baby, a father can support and monitor the mother's efforts. And if the mother has issues that could endanger the baby's health and welfare, the father has the right to intervene. For example, using drugs while pregnant could be considered a form of child abuse. In such a case, a father could act to secure stronger custody terms after the baby's birth.
If you are the expectant father of a child, hopefully, you and the child's other parent will be able to find an amicable understanding regarding custody, child support, and other important issues. But if you have concerns regarding your rights or the well-being of your child, you may wish to solicit the advice and guidance of an experienced family law attorney. The attorney can help you create a parenting agreement that protects your parental rights and is in the best interests of the child.