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Custody and Visitation

In most states, when a child born to an unmarried mother, if there is no adjudication or registration of paternity, the mother has custody. Once paternity has been established, a father has the right to seek custody of or visitation with his child. Even after paternity has been adjudicated or registered, as long as there is no court order on custody, many states presume that the mother has custody of the child. A custody agreement between the parents or a court order can clarify custody and visitation issues. Unmarried parents without custody are entitled to the same visitation rights as divorced parents, absence extraordinary factors such as abuse or domestic violence.

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