3 things every unwed father should know about custody and visitation

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2023 | Blog, Custody And Visitation |

Child custody and visitation can be contentious, especially for unwed fathers. With custody priority often given to mothers, an unwed father can often feel left out. What many fathers may not understand is that there are legal options to preserve their rights.

There are a few key considerations to protect your visitation and custody rights.

1. You need to establish paternity

Before you can ask the court to order custody or visitation, you must establish paternity. Sometimes, the mother willingly signs a paternity acknowledgment or lists you on the birth certificate. In other cases, you might need a paternity test.

2. You can petition the court for paternity testing

Even when the mother of the child is resistant to paternity testing, you still have a right to pursue it. If you have reason to believe that you are the child’s father, you can ask the court to mandate a paternity test as part of a custody petition.

3. You can petition for custody after establishing paternity

The court can establish custody and visitation schedules based on the best interests of the child. In most cases, courts aim to preserve relationships with both parents as equally as possible. You should know that establishing paternity may also leave you legally responsible for child support.

You might feel helpless as an unwed father trying to spend time with your child. You do not have to remain at the mercy of the child’s mother for your visitation. Establish paternity and ask the court for the time that you deserve with your child.

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