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.Continue Reading
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
Joint legal custody means that both parents have rights to participate in all important decisions concerning their children, reports About.com. A parent who feels the other parent is not honoring a joint legal custody agreement can request a judge to enforce it, states Nolo.Full Answer >
A father is allowed to give up his rights under certain circumstances, but voluntary termination of parental rights is often more difficult than involuntary termination, says FreeAdvice.com. Children are considered to have a right to a parental relationship and a right to financial support and care from their parents.Full Answer >
All states have different rules and requirements regarding the filing of a paternity form, and generally a citizen can determine the forms that are needed through his state's Department of Health, explains Nolo. Some states may have a time limit for filing these forms.Full Answer >
Each state has its own laws regarding child support and paternity, but in general, a court has the discretion to order a man not named on the birth certificate to pay child support. Paternity of the father can be established after the birth. If a woman files a claim for child support through social services, the agency makes an attempt to establish paternity through DNA testing.Full Answer >