How do I get custody, visitation, or timesharing with my child, if I was never married to the mother?

Both parents have a right to see and visit with their kids.  Yes, unwed fathers have parental rights.  However, unwed fathers have a hurtle to overcome before they can exercise their rights as a father.  First, the unwed father must be a legal parent.  To become a legal parent, a father will need to establish legal paternity by first filing a petition to establish paternity in court and having the mother served.

For mothers with physical and legal custody, exercising that right is generally automatic because typically there is evidence at the birth that the mother is the legal mother.  For fathers, typically there are no witnesses to paternity and as such the father must prove his paternity.  

Child timesharing (custody and visitation) decisions are guided by what serves “the best interest of the child.”


The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. Outcome or results are not guaranteed. The information presented on this website is for advertising purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. An attorney-client relationship will not be established until we have confirmed our representation of your case in writing.


%d bloggers like this: