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Unwed fathers can pursue custody and visitation

You love your child, but you believe that because you're male, you'll have a harder time getting the custody rights you want. Fortunately, the courts are not supposed to be biased, so there should be no obvious preference for the mother. As a father to your child, you have every right to pursue custody and visitation rights.

Even though you never got married, you do still have a right to seek out custody. There are a few extra steps you need to pursue to make sure you are given the best chance to obtain custody or visitation rights.

First, you must establish paternity. Since you were not married, it isn't automatically assumed that you're the father. You may agree that you are with the additional agreement from the mother. If that's the case, you can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity. You can also ask for a DNA test.

It's a good idea to work on a parenting agreement after this. It's in your best interests and the best interests of the child's mother to work out this plan together. That way, you can design one that works well with your schedules and the needs of your child. If you cannot agree, you can take the case to court and allow the judge to determine a visitation and custody plan.

Don't let anyone tell you that you don't deserve a chance to be in your child's life. If you're the child's biological parent, you have the right to pursue visitation and custody arrangements that allow you to become involved in the life your child lives.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Visitation, Child Custody and Unmarried Fathers," accessed June 26, 2017

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