What are my rights as an unmarried father?
I do not practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state and can only provide you with general tips on your situation.
In most states, when a child is born to parents who are not married, most of the automatic parental rights are given to the child’s mother.
In Wisconsin, where I practice law, fathers who are not married to the child’s mother have almost no rights whatsoever to a child, even if the father’s name is listed on the birth certificate, and must file a paternity action with the court to establish themselves as the father and to establish legal rights.
You will want to consult with a domestic litigation attorney where you live to determine what automatic rights you may have under your state’s law and what you need to do to establish additional right.
It is important that you act quickly to establish your rights. Some jurisdictions also have standards for what sort of placement should occur based upon the child’s age and a local domestic litigation attorney would be able to inform you of that information.
Most likely, your only option to establish rights with respect to your daughter will be to go through the legal system and an attorney can help you navigate this process. You will probably be able to file an action in the county where you live, but an attorney will also be able to assist you with determining where you should file.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.