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Non-divorced fathers seeking child custody have questions

There are so many children out there who need the guidance and support of their mother and father. If a father of child wants to be a bigger part of that child's life; this is a great thing. However, the legal process that may accompany achieving rights of child custody and visitation may seem daunting to some fathers. Depending on that specific parent's current custody or visitation situation, a parent may be seeking different things.

It is important that fathers understand the differences between different levels of visitation and child custody. Oftentimes, parents of children were never wed when they had a child. Since this may present specific challenges like paternity, it is important to understand that if paternity is in question, this question needs to be answered before a father can approach the subject of child custody and visitation. If paternity is not an issue, the father may want to achieve a number of levels of visitation or custody.

Visitation is granted in cases when a parent does not have physical or legal custody of a child but has been given specific windows of time when he/she can visit and spend time with that child. Sometimes the child is allowed to be with the parent unsupervised and other times there may be supervised visits. If a parent is seeking custody that means that they either are seeking joint or primary physical or legal custody of their child. Custody can give the right to make decisions for that child and to give physical custody rights to a parent who may/may not have already had them. If a parent is seeking sole custody, the parent wants complete physical and legal custody of that child.

Every family situation is different; each will require selecting from a variety of objectives. Depending on the level of responsibility a parent is seeking, this will majorly determine their goals of child custody and visitation. It is never too late to begin to have a stronger relationship with your child. Achieving a level of visitation or child custody is what can make a parent's wish of a stronger parent-child relationship a reality.

Source: family.findlaw.com, "Custody and Visitation in Non-Divorce Cases," Accessed Jan. 18, 2016

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