Mindy - posted on 01/23/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )
All of these questions about custody arrangements, sole custody, etc. Here's a brief breakdown of a father's rights in most situations (assuming that there have not been any court proceedings making a determination).
You and the father were married: He has visitation rights or custody (whatever was decided in the divorce). Usually changing custody required a substantial change in circumstances that is detrimental to the child.
Not married, father on birth certificate: mother has primary custody, any visitation with father is at mother's discretion. Father can seek a court order for visitation and/or custody. I've never heard of a father receiving custody in this situation, but that's not to say it's never happened.
Not married, father not on birth certificate: in the eyes of the law there is no father. Mother has sole custody. Father can pursue court proceedings to be acknowledged as father, get visitation, etc.
Hope that helps.