In lawsuits involving the dissolution of families, each parent or interested party usually has his or her own legal representation. More often than not, child custody and parental rights are determined as part of a typical divorce, and are handled by divorce lawyers. Sometimes, particularly in highly contentious situations or very complex struggles, other nuanced family lawyers play a role. Father’s rights advocates are one example. Father’s rights advocates are lawyers who are family lawyers in one sense, but who have built their practice specifically around representing fathers and fighting for fathers' rights to their children.
In every trial system in the world, it is a lawyer’s main job to act as a zealous advocate for the client’s case, fighting for the client’s best interest and seeking justice at every turn. In some sense, lawyers representing fathers in any number of disputes are by default father’s rights advocates. Some lawyers specifically market themselves as father’s rights advocates, however. These lawyers typically only take clients who are fathers with specific custody struggles, and have defined their practice as one catering exclusively to fathers and would-be fathers.
The primary goal of father’s rights advocates is outcome-based. They want to see their client, the father, enjoying his paternal rights. A father’s custody rights — his rights to visit, parent, and interact with his children as they grow — is one of the most fundamental rights a father has. A father’s rights advocate makes it his main job to defend those rights before the law.
Depending on when retained, the advocate will walk the client-father through every step of any appropriate legal proceedings. The advocate will assist with filing the initial complaint, if necessary, and can help answer divorce petitions. The advocate also typically acts as the lead negotiator for drafting child custody agreements, child support contracts, and parenting plans. Most of the cases the advocates handle involve divorces, but really any case that involves a child and a father seeking rights is a good candidate for a father’s rights advocate. Father’s rights advocates must, therefore, be skilled in any number of family law matters.
Many communities sponsor father’s rights organizations to help promote fathers’ involvement in the raising of their children. These organizations are often focused on helping fathers be a part of their children’s lives, but they also often promote the legal rights of fathers, whether through presentations, coaching, tutorials, or referrals. Many father’s rights advocates find clients within these and similar organizations, as well as through word-of-mouth recommendations and traditional advertisements.