How can you protect your rights as an unmarried father?

Child custody and visitation issues can be particularly complex for men who are not married to the mother of their children. They may find it difficult to assert their rights to custody and visitation time, and it may be necessary to seek the help of a lawyer to resolve these concerns.

If you are a father and believe that it is in your best interests to establish paternity and legally outline your role in the life of your children, you would be wise to work with a lawyer experienced in protecting fathers' rights in complex family law disputes.

Paternity, child custody and your financial obligations

While some parents are able to work cooperatively to raise their children, it is always beneficial to have a legal foundation for any workable parenting plan. You could benefit from establishing paternity if any of the following apply to your situation:

  • You and the mother of the child were not married at the time the child was born.
  • You are not listed as the biological father on your child's birth certificate.
  • The mother is requesting child support.
  • You wish to have regular visitation with your child.
  • There is no custody plan currently in place. 
  • You have been denied access to your child by the mother.

Once legally identified as the biological father of your child, you may have a right to seek custody or request regular access to your child. You will also be legally obligated to financially support your child until he or she is 18 years old.

You have the right to a strong relationship with your kids

If you are a father, you have a right to a strong relationship with your children, regardless of your marital status or relationship with the mother. Custody, visitation time, child support and paternity are all potentially complex family law issues, and should be resolved in a way that protects the best interests of your children.

Having a strong legal advocate by your side can ensure that you are afforded the best possible opportunity to be present and active in the life of your child.


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Attorney Philip A. Greenberg represents clients in New York and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call 646-363-6807 or contact him by email. He can meet with you in his Manhattan office or in a location convenient to you.

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