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Seeking visitation as an unmarried father

It can be heartbreaking if you are a father of a child but you are struggling to gain access to your child. You will feel frustrated and likely angry if the mother is not allowing you to have visiting hours or custody. However, it is important to remember that as a biological father, you will be entitled to custody or visitation as long as the courts rule that this is in the child's best interests.

As a father, the first thing that you should do is communicate calmly with the mother and express what type of visitation you would like. If you are not legally acknowledged as the father on the birth certificate, you should also ask for this acknowledgment.

What happens if paternity is not established?

If you were not married at the time of the child's birth, you were not listed on the birth certificate, or the mother will not acknowledge that you are the father, then your first step toward custody is to establish paternity. You can do this by requesting that a DNA test takes place. If the mother does not want this to take place, it is possible to enforce this through the courts.

How can child custody be arranged once paternity is acknowledged?

Once there is proof that you are the father of the child in question, you can go about filing for custody. The courts will give you visitation rights or custody, as long as they believe that it is in the best interests of the child. It is important to raise a case on how you will be a responsible parent in the future.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Visitation, Child Custody and Unmarried Fathers," accessed Jan. 26, 2018

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