Gaining visitation rights for unmarried dads

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2020 | Firm News |

Perhaps you are an unmarried father who is dealing with a partner who restricts access to your kids. Though you may feel that you should have unrestricted access to your kids, their other parent may believe otherwise and resort to every trick they can think of to keep your kids from seeing or being around you as much as they should. 

Contrary to common misconception, unmarried fathers have the same parental rights as married dads. Marriage is not necessary for the courts to award you custody, parenting or visitation time. Take a look at the steps you can take to protect your parental and visitation rights. 

Establish paternity

In lieu of marriage, the courts do not make assumptions about paternity. You must establish paternity in order for the courts to consider your parental rights. If your name is not on your children’s birth certificates or their mother disputes your relationship to your kids, you may need to get a paternity test to pursue legal custody of your kids. If you are already on their birth certificates, you already have parental rights in the eyes of the law. 

Show fitness

Unless your children’s other parent is proven unfit, you can petition the courts for a legally-binding child custody or visitation agreement. You must establish to the courts that you are capable and sufficient enough to cater to your kids’ well-being in the same manner or better than your ex-partner. 

Children require financial support from both of their parents, regardless of their relationship with each other. The courts use a set of criteria to determine the financial obligations of each parent in addition to awarding custody and assigning a visitation schedule. The parent who ends up with primary custody often receives child support from the other guardian.