Unmarried Parents – A Father’s Child Custody Rights

He did not know how to locate the child that he knew he had fathered years ago. The child had always wondered who his father was. He never asked his mother this question. He feared that she would get mad. Each wondered and each had the right to know. The man did not know who to ask. The mother never talked to her son about his dad. The years passed and the child was reaching his teenage years. Still the two had never met. The man continued his search and the child continued to fear asking his mother about his father.

One day the search came to an unanticipated end. The man worked in a shoe store in the mall. The child needed to buy a new pair of sneakers. The child found a pair he liked. He showed it to the salesperson to ask if it came in his shoe size. The man reached out to take the shoes and looked at the child. He instantly froze in his tracks. The boy was the picture image of himself when he was about the same age. The child held on to the shoes and stared at the man. They both had tears in their eyes. They began to speak at almost the same time. They each asked the same question. The man: Could you my son? The Boy: Could you be my father?

They stood there for an instant just staring at each other until they left the store and walked into the Mall. They found an empty table. The man had a cup of coffee and the child had an ice cream sundae. They both had tears in their eyes as they hugged for the very first time. They talked and they laughed. When it seemed that they had nothing else to say they talked some more. The child went home and told his mom. The man went to the courthouse to find out what steps he had to take to file for visitation rights to see his son.

This is an occurrence that happens all too often especially after a one-night-stand. Some men will never know that they fathered a child unless the mother files for child support. Some find out when the child becomes an adult and searches for his father. Other men will live a lifetime without ever knowing.

Child Custody For Unmarried Fathers -Laws Vary From State to State.

1. It is important for an unwed father to establish his visitation rights. This can be accomplished by taking a DNA test. This knowledge does not entitle the father to get custody of the child. The mother will have total custody unless she is into drugs, other illegal activities or deemed to be unfit for any other major reason.

2. The father can only to get visitation rights. Full custody is usually awarded to the mother. The father might be able to file for partial custody. This would depend on his lifestyle and his profession.

3. Each parent can file for custody of the child. The courts usually make their decision on the side of the child according to which parent will make the best parent. Under unusual and specific circumstances the father might be entitled to get partial custody.

Child Custody For a Divorced Father – Laws Vary From State to State

1. Legal Custody: The father might be able to be awarded legal custody. This means that he has the sole responsibility to make all decisions pertaining to the child. This will include religion preferences, type of education, and health care. This type of custody is rare and depends on the circumstances concerning the divorce.

2. Physical Custody: The courts grant the child to live with one parent. They award visitation rights to the other parent.

3. Sole Custody: Either or both parents can be awarded legal custody. This type of custody is unusual. It is granted only when the courts consider a parent be seriously unfit.

4. Joint Custody: Each parent is granted equal custody. Each parent can make decisions concerning the child. This includes religious upbringing, type of schooling, vacations, and holidays. It could also include the child’s selection of clothing as well as medical treatments. Joint Custody means that the child must reside with a different parent each week. Vacations and holidays are also split between parents. The child has no say in the matter until he or she reaches the age of emancipation.