${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt} Main Menu
Call Today: 855-805-0595
To protect your safety during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we “strongly encourage” telephone and video conferences, versus face-to-face meetings. Please contact our office today to set up a remote consultation. For more information, read our blog post.

Your right to visitation and custody as an unmarried father

7954114_s.jpgNot all relationships work out, but sometimes they result in a child being born. Just because you're not in the other parent's life, that doesn't mean you have to miss those important milestones as your child grows up.

Studies show that children tend to be better adjusted when they have both parents in their lives. This is why you should make it a point to establish your paternity of your child.

Virtually every biological parent has a legal right to custody and/or visitation with their child. A mom or dad doesn't need to have been married at the time that their child was conceived to have a right to custody. Courts consider what's in the best interest of the child, which generally entails having both parents in the picture unless there's a history of violence or serious mental health or substance abuse issues.

Any father that wishes to gain visitation and custody rights must first establish their paternity. There are many ways that they can do this. They can do so by undergoing deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing. Both parents can also sign a paternity affidavit and file it with the court. A father qualifies to pursue custody and visitation rights the moment that they successfully establish their paternity.

Some parents are successful in working out a visitation schedule and including that information in a parenting plan themselves. There are instances in which a child's parents don't get along well enough to broker a deal, though. It's in situations like this that parents often petition a judge to intervene and issue a court order for visitation or custody.

Judges rarely grant sole custody to a child's unmarried father if the child is already being raised by their mother. Fathers who'd like to gain sole custody in such instances generally have to prove that their child's mother is unfit to be their primary caregiver because they have a history of drug problems, domestic violence, criminal activity or neglect.

If you're a father trying to gain custody or visitation rights with your child, an experienced attorney can walk you through the process of establishing paternity and help you build a persuasive case for why you should be a more present force in your child's life.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Our Team To Get Help Now

Tell us about your case and we’ll get back to you promptly.

Bold labels are required.

ERROR: Please enter a site level or form specific email address in the application.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

Stange Logo

Stange Law Firm, PC
120 S. Central Avenue
Suite 450
St. Louis (Clayton), Missouri 63105

Toll Free: 855-805-0595
Fax: 314-963-9191
St. Louis Law Office Map

DHQ | Divorce Headquarters Divorce
Headquarters ® App Download The App
Questions? Live Chat Pay Your Bill Online
States of Service

Other Office Locations

  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
  • West County: 16024 Manchester Rd., Suite 103, Ellisville, MO 63011: Ellisville Office
  • Jackson County: 256 NE Tudor Rd., Lee's Summit, Missouri 64086: Lee's Summit Office
  • Jefferson County: 16 Municipal Drive, Suite C, Arnold, MO 63010: Arnold Office
  • St. Charles County: 2268 Bluestone Drive, St. Charles, MO 63303: St. Charles Office
  • Franklin County: 5 S. Oak St. Union, MO 63084: Union Office
  • Lincoln County: 20 Centerline Drive, Troy, Missouri 63379: Troy Office
  • Boone County: 1506 Chapel Hill Rd., Suite H, Columbia, MO 65203: Columbia Office
  • Greene County: 901 E. St. Louis, Suite 404, Springfield, Missouri 65806: Springfield, MO Office
  • St. Clair County: 115 Lincoln Place Ct., Ste. 101, Belleville, IL 62221: Belleville Office
  • Madison County: 25 Professional Park, Suite B, Maryville, Illinois 62062: Maryville Office
  • Sangamon County: 400 S. 9th St., Suite 100, Springfield, IL 62701: Springfield Office
  • McLean County: 1012 Ekstam Drive, Suite 4, Bloomington, IL 61704: Bloomington Office
  • Johnson County: 7300 West 110th Street, Suite 560, Overland Park, KS 62210: Overland Park Office
  • Sedgwick County: 2024 N. Woodlawn Street, Suite 407, Wichita, Kansas 67208: Wichita Office
  • Shawnee County: 800 SW Jackson Street, Suite 812, Topeka, Kansas 66612: Topeka Office
  • Tulsa County: 6660 S. Sheridan Road, Suite 240, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133: Tulsa Office
  • Oklahoma County: 2601 NW Expressway, Suite 411 W, Oklahoma City, OK 73112: Oklahoma City Office
  • Monroe County: 116 W. Mill St., Waterloo, IL 62298 (by appt. only): Waterloo Office
  • St. Louis City: 100 S. 4th St., #549, St. Louis, MO 63102 (by appt. only): St. Louis Office
  • Jackson County: 2300 Main St., #948, Kansas City, MO 64108 (by appt. only): Kansas City Office

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision & should not be based solely upon advertisements. See additional disclaimers here.