Becoming a parent does not always happen in the way one might expect, but this does not mean that your rights as a parent are any less legitimate. For fathers in Kentucky, parental rights are well worth fighting for, but must be sought in specific ways to guarantee the highest likelihood of success.
If you are a father who was not married to mother of your child when the child was born, you will first have to legally establish paternity of that child before you can successfully seek parental rights. The simplest and most common way of establishing paternity is for both the mother and father of the child to sign an acknowledgement of paternity and file it with the state. This can easily be done when the child is born, but is also possible afterwards as well. In the event that the parentage of the child is disputed, you will need to petition a court for a DNA test to establish parentage.
If your parentage of the child has already been established, then you are free to pursue other parental rights, such as visitation and potentially custody privileges. This will almost certainly mean both you and the mother of the child negotiating these privileges and presenting a plan to be accepted by the court. If negotiating this plan is not possible, a court will step in to establish a fair distribution of privileges. It is worth noting that it is very rare for a father to be granted sole custody of a child if the child is currently being raised by the mother.
Your rights as a father are some of the most fundamental rights a person can have, and deserve to be taken very seriously. If you are ready to passionately pursue your parental rights, the guidance of an experienced attorney who cares about your heart as a father will help you explore your legal options as you seek to be the best father you can be.
Source: FindLaw, "Child Visitation, Child Custody and Unmarried Fathers," accessed Nov. 18, 2016