How can unwed fathers obtain custody and visitation rights?

In a July post, we discussed why it’s so important for unwed fathers in Illinois to establish paternity. Most importantly, a father who is not married to his child’s biological mother has no legal parental rights to his child. This means a mother retains sole legal and physical custody and can even put a child up for adoption without notifying or obtaining consent from the child’s biological father.

Once an unwed father has taken steps to establish paternity, he is legally recognized as a child’s father. This means a father may petition the court to obtain child custody and visitation rights. When possible, it’s best when a child’s parents are able to come to an agreement on their own and establish a parenting agreement which then becomes legally enforceable when filed with the court.

In cases where parents are not able to agree about the terms of a child custody or visitation agreement, the matter may be litigated in court and determined by a family law judge. For fathers who are desperate to know their child and be part of his or her life, it’s important to take legal action.

Fortunately, in contested child custody matters between unwed parents, family law courts typically “presume that children benefit from having both parents involved in their upbringing.” When making any decisions regarding custody or visitation, the courts take a child’s best interests into consideration. Thankfully, family courts today widely recognize the critical and unique role a father plays in a child’s life and are therefore likely to provide a father with regular access to a child.

Unwed fathers in Illinois who have questions or concerns about child custody matters would be wise to seek the advice and counsel of a family law attorney who handles both fathers’ rights and child custody matters.

Source: FindLaw.com, “Child Visitation, Child Custody and Unmarried Fathers,” 2014

Read Our

Recent Blogs

What You Need to Know About Annulment Laws in Illinois

There are conditions that disqualify a marriage in the state of Illinois that will allow you to open up the opportunity for an annulment…

Read More
The Pros and Cons of Mediated, Collaborative, and Litigated Divorce Processes

There is no one-size-fits-all divorce process, but rather, choosing amongst the mediated, collaborative, and litigated divorce processes depends on the personal situations of each…

Read More
Factoring in Your Child’s Best Interest for Custody Arrangements

Illinois courts make their decisions on child custody based on relevant laws, statutes, and case law, but mostly, they look at what they deem…

Read More

Contact Us Today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.