We Didn’t Get Married, Do I Have Any Parental Rights?

Published on October 26, 2023

Gary and Sara had been dating for around a year when Sara became pregnant. Gary could not have been happier. He told all his friends and family that he would be a father.  Gary decided that he wanted to ask Sara to marry him. He bought the ring and prepared the time and event that he would propose.

When Gary asked Sara if he would marry her, she said no. Gary was heartbroken. He did not understand. He thought that they had been so happy together. Sara told Gary she loved him but was not ready for marriage.

This went against Gary’s core values. He believed that babies should be born in wedlock. Gary and Sara began arguing more than they did in the past. Sara was also hurt that Gary did not understand her feelings about marriage.

Gary had always wanted to be married with children. He felt that Sara would never agree to this. He decided it was time for him to move on so that he could have what he needed. However, he wanted to be a part of his child’s life. He worried he would not have any rights as an unwed father.

As a father, you might feel you have less rights than the mother in a divorce. Though courts favor mothers, fathers do have rights. As a father, you must not give up on your children or your right to access.

Studies have shown that children with involved fathers are likelier to do better in school and get in less trouble with the law. Fathers teach their children to problem solve and offer security and emotional support.

Until you have more access to your children, here are some things to consider

  1. Hire a family lawyer dedicated to your rights. family lawyer can help you to understand and assess your rights as a father. Both fathers AND mothers have a right to speak to teachers, attend school plays, attend medical appointments, and participate fully in their child’s life. Neither parent should dominate the child’s time or set parameters around the other parent’s time with the child.
  2. Shelter your children from conflict. If you are in a high-conflict relationship, ensure your children are not involved. Try to keep the children out of the middle.
  3. Spend quality time with your children. No matter how much access time you have with your children, they need you. Teach your children how to treat and respect others. Provide your children with emotional security and safety by checking in with them. Spend time with them doing their homework and other fun activities.
  4. Be a role model. You can teach your children how to cope with stress and adversity by modeling how to manage emotions. Stay present with your children and tune into what challenges they might need guidance on. Children with present fathers are less likely to get involved with the wrong friends.
  5. Manage your stress and health. You will likely be able to be present if you are physically and mentally healthy. It can be difficult for men to reach out for help. A mental health professional can help guide you through the challenges of divorce and being a single dad.

Monica Borschel, Ph.D. Divorce and Trauma Recovery Coach
Monica is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. She later moved to New York City, earning her master’s in clinical psychology from Columbia University. She then pursued her Doctorate in Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong. Her training and qualifications include certifications in Brainspotting and High Conflict Coaching.
Email: info@doctormonicaborschel.com

Attorney DeLacy Crovo, J.D.
Attorney Crovo is originally from Boston and settled there right after graduating from Suffolk University Law School on Beacon Hill. Her career began as an Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County. After honing her litigation skills at the DA’s Office, Attorney Crovo opened her Family Law Practice, where she has successfully created family law solutions and litigated family law cases for over thirty years.
Email: delacyc@crovolaw.com 

Attorney DeLacy Crovo and Monica Borschel can offer consultations together upon request. A financial advisor can be included.

Category(s):Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions, Divorce / Divorce Adjustment, Parenting

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Welcome! My passion is to help you find inner peace and emotional comfort within yourself and your relationships.

As social creatures, our relationships significantly shape our happiness, well-being, and sense of self-worth. Unfortunately, many of us have experienced relationship-related traumas, which can leave us with emotional scars that require recovery.

Attachment traumas, such as divorce, break-ups, infidelity, neglect, and abuse, can be challenging. As an expert in attachment, loss, and trauma, I have spent many years studying how attachment styles can shift with loss and trauma.

I have seen how healthy relationships can lead to secure attachment and how insecure attachment can create turmoil in our lives. I aim to guide you toward cultivating healthy relationships with yourself, your children, your co-parent, and your romantic partner.

I can help you develop new attachment strategies that will allow you to form deeper connections and bonds with those around you. And, if you have children, I can also assist you in establishing secure attachments with both parents, which can be especially helpful in cases of separation or divorce.

I am originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, where I completed my Bachelor of Science in Psychology at The University of Utah. From there, I moved to New York City, earning my Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. I then pursued my Doctorate in Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong. I lived and worked in Hong Kong as a practicing Clinical Psychologist from 2010-2020. I reside in California and am pursuing my Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) at California Southern University. My training and qualifications include certifications in Brainspotting and High Conflict Coaching.

These tools, combined with my extensive knowledge and experience in the field, enable me to offer you the guidance and support you need to recover from past traumas and build healthy relationships.

My approach to therapy is empathetic, supportive, and tailored to your unique needs. Every person can grow, and thrive. I am committed to helping you achieve your goals. So, whether you are struggling with relationship issues, divorce, abuse, attachment traumas, or other challenges, I am here to help you find the peace and comfort you deserve.

Email me at info@doctormonicaborschel.com or call the MindnLife Clinic at 852 2521 4668