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.
While the specifics vary from one state to another, fathers who haven't been found to present a threat to their children have as much right to establish and maintain a relationship with their children as mothers do. According to About.com, this can involve regular phone contact, visitation and direct involvement in making important decisions regarding the children's lives.
One of the most important factors that determines whether or not joint custody will be granted by a family court is the degree to which the parents are able to work together in the perceived interests of the children. To this end, a father who wishes to establish or maintain a regular presence in his children's lives often finds the task much easier to accomplish by reaching out to the children's mother and building a trusting co-parent relationship. As About.com notes, this greatly improves the overall chances of a father being awarded a major role in his children's lives in addition to being good for the children for its own sake.