Gaining custody can sometimes seem like a rather impossible task, even for fathers who were married to their child’s mother at one point. What hope do individuals who have never been married to their child’s mother, then, have of gaining custody? Well, the answer is that you have a much better chance than you might believe! In fact, a SAPCR (suit affecting parent-child relationship), also known as a paternity suit, can help unwed fathers when it comes to obtaining custody.
It should be noted that there are many factors considered by a judge when they hear a paternity suit. The relationship that you have with your child, for example, can heavily sway the courts in your favor (assuming the relationship is a good one, of course). This is also the time to bring up any concerns you might have regarding how the child’s mother is parenting. All of these factors play heavily into a judge’s decision regarding parenting time allocation.
File a SAPCR
When you file for a paternity suit, you are essentially asking the court to grant you access to your child. You should take advantage of your petition to request either visitation or custody (or both), but keep in mind that they are not the same thing. Receiving visitation rights does not amount to custody, in other words.
Make Your Case
If you are serious about obtaining custody of your child, it is vital to hire an experienced attorney. Once hired, make sure that you are honest with them about any concerns you might have about the quality of care the mother is providing for the child. You should also turn over any evidence you might have backing up these claims. This includes reports of neglect, unfit behavior, and any cases that have been opened with child protective services.
Should the mother in question not be unfit or demonstrate valid parenting concerns, then it might be a good idea to also prepare a visitation petition in case the custody case falls through. Your attorney can help you determine what course of action will best suit your goals as well as your specific situation.
After your case has been made, the judge will determine whether or not to grant you custody or visitation. Please note that even if you do not receive the results you hoped for, it is possible to have these custody agreements changed or modified depending upon your specific situation. Do not lose hope!
If you are attempting to gain custody or visitation rights to your child, reach out to the experienced lawyers at Gregory C. Starkey & Associates today! Call us at 205.581.9790 for more information.