It's proven that a child benefits from the love and support of both parents. While every family's situation is different today, there is no reason that unwed parents can't rear a child in a healthy, happy way. If a father wants to establish fathers' rights with his child, there are a few steps to take in the process, especially if he isn't listed as the father on the birth certificate. However, even in these situations, there is a way to be granted fathers' rights.
The first step in this process is for a father to prove his biological link to that child. Establishing paternity can be as easy as the mother filling out some paperwork, or it can be more in-depth by submitting to a DNA test. When paternity is established, a father can go on to seek visitation and/or child custody rights. These are the rights that are going to be most important to fathers because when they are granted rights to visitation and child custody they are able to spend time with their child and build that important relationship.
Sometimes parents do not get along, though, which can inevitably make the process harder for a father who is seeking to act on his rights. If the mother is not on-board with the father seeking his share of child custody or visitation, then she can petition the court to restrict the father's access. If at all possible, the parents of the child should try to communicate and be on good terms, as it really can benefit the child immensely. This isn't always possible, however. Yet, it is good for a father seeking rights to be aware of this option.
Child custody and visitation rights will look different for each family situation. It's possible that a father must show adequate parenting skills at the visitation level before he is granted full-blown child custody rights. However, some fathers may skip this step entirely and move on to a parenting plan with their child's mother. These situations are tailored specifically to the needs of the family with the best interests of the child in mind.
Confronting these types of legal issues can be challenging. Therefore, those who want to try to act on their fathers' rights may want to discuss the matter with a qualified family law attorney.