In cases where two unmarried people have a child together, both parties may wish to split custody. If the separation is amicable, there may be no problems establishing a parenting or custody sharing plan.
For instances where the separation is a bitter one, however, the father may have to jump through many legal hoops before the courts will grant him any custody or visitation rights.
Establishing paternity does not give fathers parental rights
According to FindLaw, unwed fathers do not automatically receive any rights when it comes to their children. The law states that in cases of children born out of wedlock, the mother has sole custody. Fathers who wish to have a relationship with their children may wish to establish paternity to seek these rights.
Establishing paternity does not allow an unwed father to obtain custody rights, unfortunately, but it does allow the courts to hold him financially responsible for the child.
Establishing legitimization gives additional rights to unwed fathers
Establishing legitimization will allow unwed fathers to seek custody and visitation rights. According to Georgia Senate Bill 64, a legal father is one who establishes legitimization in cases where he is not married to the mother. Establishing legitimization may occur at the same time as establishing paternity. During this process, the father may also file for custody, visitation rights and parenting time.
Mothers may still object to the legitimization process by claiming that the father no longer has a chance to develop a relationship with his child. The courts will only rule in her favor, however, if she can prove the claim.