What rights does an unmarried father have?
Becoming a parent is a joyous if not stressful event in the life of an Illinois man. While he may not experience all of the physical pressures that his partner will undergo in order to bring a child into the world, he may share with her the worry and excitement, fear and love that take over as their baby’s due date gets closer and closer. The arrival of a baby may bring him and his partner closer together, or it may stress their relationship to the point of ending it.
When two unmarried individuals have a child, there can be some serious legal issues to be worked out as they negotiate the world of custody, visitation and support. Particularly for the father, ensuring that he has time and authority in his child’s life can be of the utmost importance. If a man is not married to his partner, he may not be automatically recognized as his child’s father.
Paternity should be established as soon as possible, if necessary, to ensure that a child and father are recognized as related. Once a father has paternity established, he may enter into a custody and visitation agreement with the mother. If the parties cannot work together to make such an agreement, the father may elect to bring their matter to court to have a judge intervene and give them a custody and visitation plan.
An unmarried father has the right to fight for custody and visitation time with their children. Their rights should not be impinged and they are entitled to legal representation if they choose. Family law attorneys can support men who wish to stay engaged in the lives of their children.