Fathers can secure their parental rights over their children by establishing paternity. Paternity is a legal term that means you are the legal father of a child. For married fathers, paternity is automatically assumed when the child is born. For unmarried fathers, it can be a similarly painless process, but that's not always the case. This post will go over how an unmarried father can gain visitation rights.
There are two paths that unmarried fathers can take, and they largely depend on if the mother is willing to cooperate. If you have a good relationship with the mother, then you can establish paternity right around the birth of the child. You sign a document that affirmatively states that you are the father, and then paternity is established.
After that, you and the mother draft a parenting plan and submit it to the court. The parenting plan lays out how the both of you plan on raising the child. The court will review it to ensure it will care for the child and then approve or modify it. The court will then issue an order based on the parenting plan.
If you are trying to gain parental rights over a child, then your best option is to work it out with the mother. But if that is not a viable option, you may want to consult with a family law attorney. An attorney can walk you through the process of establishing paternity and filing for visitation rights. This is a complicated process that could take months, but a lawyer can help you understand the process. Don't let anyone stop you from trying to be a part of your child's life.