Many fathers want to play an active role in their child’s life. They want to have a real relationship with their child, spend quality time with their child on a consistent basis, and want to be a responsible parent. Being an unwed father isn’t always easy. The child’s mother might be difficult or may not want the father to have visitation with the child. Below are the three main steps required for fathers that want to obtain visitation with their child.
Most importantly, a father should establish paternity. This is the first legal step to securing visitation rights with your child. Paternity creates full parent-child rights in the father, which means that the father is entitled to visitation rights. There are three ways to establish paternity:
- The mother and father both acknowledge paternity using a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement form at the hospital after the child is born.
- The mother and father both acknowledge paternity using a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement form made at either the State Office of Vital Records or at the Vital Records office at the Health Department in the county where they reside at any time after the child is born.
- A court order or an administrative order is made stating paternity after a DNA test has been obtained through Child Support Enforcement.
Figure Out a Parenting Plan
Fathers who are seeking visitation rights should prepare a parenting plan that details the desired visitation schedule. South Carolina parenting plan guidelines are available for fathers to take into consideration while preparing their own parenting plans.
Get A Legal Visitation Order
Obtaining a legal visitation order is how fathers protect their visitation rights to their child. A visitation order legally provides the father with his visitation rights, and a mother cannot violate the order without causing herself legal difficulties. There are two ways to go about obtaining a legal visitation order:
- Hire A Lawyer. Getting legal help handling family law matters is always a good idea. A knowledgeable family law lawyer can help you obtain your legal visitation order and will also help you preserve and protect your rights as a father.
- Pro Se Visitation Complaint. Filing something “pro se” simply means that the person does not have a lawyer representing him or her. Information on how to complete a pro se visitation compliant is available online, and the completed complaint must be filed in the county and/or state where the child resides.
Contacting A South Carolina Fathers’ Rights Attorney
Every father should be able to have visitation with his child. If you are a father and are interested in obtaining legal visitation rights to your child, please reach out to the family law attorneys at Sarji Law Firm, LLC. We have handled numerous fathers’ rights and child visitation cases and we can help you. Please call us today at 843-323-4341.