What Are the Legal Father's Rights for Child Visitation in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania visitation rights for the father depend on established paternity and the child's best interests. If a man is established as the legal father, he is granted the same parental rights as the mother, though the right to custody and visitation are not guaranteed, notes Pro Bono Net.

Custody and visitation rights are determined based on a child's preference and best interests. In court, the mother and father are both considered equal as long as legal paternity is established. According to Pro Bono Net, the father may be given visitation or custody rights if the child prefers it or the father has more effective and beneficial parenting skills than the mother. If the father is able to take care of a child's physical, emotional and intellectual well-being, he may also be granted visitation rights. However, if the father has any criminal history or past violent and abusive conduct, he may be at risk for receiving little to no visitation rights.

According to Pro Bono Net, visitation may also depend on the mother's willingness and ability to contact the child or allow co-parenting from the father, though these factors may not necessarily be considered by the court depending on her legal history and past conduct. The same limitations apply to mothers seeking visitation rights, and they are also at the liberty of the court in regards to a father's willingness to allow visitation and co-parenting.