Not all pregnancies taken place within marriages. If animosity develops between the mother and father, it can be difficult for the male parent to exercise his legal rights. However, most states afford the fathers of illegitimate children basic protections.
Visitation is one right even the fathers of illegitimate children have. You may first have to be listed as the natural father on the child's birth certificate, or submit to a blood test confirming paternity. Once it is settled that you father and child are biologically related, you can expect to see the child on a regular basis, unless the mother objects on grounds other than paternity.
Custody is another right to which biological fathers may be entitled, whether married to the child's mother or not. Unless the father is underage himself, he can petition the court for full or partial custody if no agreement can be reached with the mother.
Although unmarried fathers have certain rights in regard to their children, exercising these rights may led to responsibilities in caring for your offspring as well. For instance, if you prove or declare yourself to be the father of the child, you will likely be expected to provide financial support until she reaches legal age.
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