Biological parents in Michigan have the right to seek child custody regardless of their marital status. However, a judge will have to determine if allowing unmarried fathers custody or other contact with his children is in their best interest. Assuming that the father poses no danger to his son or daughter, courts generally prefer that both parents are in the lives of their children.
The first step in the child custody process is to establish paternity. In many cases, this is done when the child is born or at any point thereafter by having both parents sign an acknowledgement form. If paternity is disputed, a DNA test may be ordered to determine if an individual is the father of the child in question. From there, a father may assert his right to have custody or visitation with the child.
While a court may decide whether or not a father can have custody or visitation rights, the parents themselves may come to an agreement on their own. This is often referred to as a parenting plan, and after the agreement is reached, it will then be given to a judge to be entered into the public record. While fathers may be given sole custody of his child, this is rare in cases when the mother is already raising the child.
Oakland County child custody lawyers may be able to help a parent obtain custody or other rights to their children. While most courts prefer that both parents are involved in the child's life, it may be possible for a mother or father to win sole custody. Legal counsel may be able to assist a client negotiate a parenting plan outside of court or in asking a judge to create an order for one.