Courts that handle child custody matters always seeks to protect the best interest of the child above all other considerations. Even when there is a parent who has sole custody of child, courts will still allow the non-custodial parent to visit the child.
There are several assumptions about what is in the best interest of a child for unmarried parents. Generally, courts believe that the mother should have custody when the parents divorce or when the parents were never married in the first place. However, regardless of who has custody, the law assumes that it is good for the child to develop relationships and have contact with both parents.
Visitation Rights of the Father
Accordingly, if the parents are unmarried, then the biological father of a child can usually get visitation rights unless there is a compelling reason not to grant those rights. Compelling reasons include conviction of certain sex crimes and violent offenses. Even so, as an alternative, the court may grant supervised visitation.
Burden of Proof
If the unmarried parent who has child custody opposes visitation by the other parent, she has the burden of proving that visitation by the non-custodial parent would be extremely harmful to the child.
Consulting an Attorney
If you are being prevented from visiting your child or if the custodial parent makes it difficult for you to visit, then a family law lawyer can help you get your visitation rights back.