In general, an unmarried father who has established legal paternity can ask the courts to approve a part-time living arrangement and an equal say in child-rearing decisions. He may also have the right to visitations. In cases where the mother is deemed unfit, an unmarried father may be able to seek sole legal and physical custody.Know More
An unmarried father's rights, as well as the process for obtaining these rights, vary by state. In the United States, an unmarried father who is not recognized as a legal parent has no rights to custody under law. Furthermore, in addition to establishing paternity, some states require unmarried fathers whose children were born out of wedlock to legitimize the child to receive consideration in court for custody or visitation. For example, under Georgia, as well as Minnesota, law as of 2014, listing the unmarried father's name on the birth certificate is insufficient for establishing legal paternity. Instead, the fathers must sign a separate paternity form or petition the court.
Georgia also requires legitimization, which can be accomplished using the same form. While legal recourse is available to help unmarried fathers obtain custody rights, most courts are unlikely to award sole custody to a father as long as the mother is an active and able parent. Many states also afford unmarried fathers the right to be informed of a pending adoption or prevent one from moving forward.Learn more about Child Support & Custody
A custodial parent not receiving child support payments should contact the local child support office where the case resides or file a petition in the courts for enforcement, according to FindLaw. The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 allows district attorneys to collect payments on behalf of the children.Full Answer >
Child custody laws for unmarried parents in North Carolina do not automatically recognize equal standing for a mother and father until paternity is legally established, says Sodoma Law. Unlike with married couples, a father in North Carolina has no legal custody rights even if his name appears on a birth certificate.Full Answer >
A father's visitation right is the right to see his child during prearranged times listed in a court order or court-approved parenting plan, according to LegalMatch. If either parent violates the visitation agreement, he or she faces legal consequences.Full Answer >
By law, child custody and visitation rights for fathers are identical to those of mothers in every state. While mothers and fathers are technically equal under the law, About.com notes that fathers' visitation rights can sometimes be harder to exercise and enforce.Full Answer >