Under any circumstances, parents who choose to raise a child separately may face difficulty agreeing on custody and parenting arrangements. However, for an unwed father, seeking parental privileges and custody rights involving your child may prove quite difficult.
This is not to say single fathers do not win custody and visitation privileges. It is certainly possible and well worth the time and effort required. However, it is wise to understand why this may prove difficult to help ensure that you can build a strong strategy to keep your rights secure.
If you hope to share custody with your child’s other parent, or possibly seek full custody, protect your own priorities with a carefully constructed legal strategy that uses the law to your advantage. An experienced family law attorney can help you examine the law as it pertains to your needs and develop a plan to achieve your parenting goals and provide a good life for your child.
Full or shared custody?
Realistically, it is very difficult to win full legal and physical custody of a child as a single unwed father. In most cases, judges prefer to keep both parents in the child’s life if possible. When disputes arise between parents, judges tend to prefer granting primary custody to mothers over fathers, especially if the child is very young or particularly dependent on the mother.
While it may seem unfair, men often face a greater burden of proof that they can serve competently as a fathers, whereas mothers generally receive the benefit of the doubt that they can act responsibly as mothers and care for a child.
If, however, the mother of your child is not fit to serve as a parent, then you may have grounds to seek primary or full custody. This may arise if the mother does not properly keep her home in a safe, healthy state, or if she partakes in drug use or abuse the child.
Many different kinds of poor parenting behavior may justify seeking primary custody if the mother proves that she cannot take care of your child properly.
Keeping your own house in order
Just as you may challenge the way that your child’s mother maintains her affairs and remains capable and dependable as a mother, you may face similar difficulties. Before you seek custody of your child, build a strong defense to keep your rights and privileges protected.
By covering your own bases and establishing that you are a dependable, responsible person, you not only improve your chances of receiving fair custody terms, you make it much more difficult for your child’s mother to challenge your parental rights. Be sure that you use all the tools you have to protect those rights and build a good life for your child.