The common father-son relationship is that a husband gets his wife pregnant and they raise a child together. Of course every life is different and not every relationship is common.
Often times a woman will get pregnant and not know the father or the birth father will be completely absent. Sometimes those moms raise kids alone and other times they (and the child) are fortunate enough to find a new man who helps raise the child and treats them as their own. The child knows them as Dad. They act like Dad. For all intents and purposes they are Dad. But legally they are not Dad.
To become legally Dad they need to actually adopt the child. If they don’t and the mom wants to break up, they could have no legal rights to the child.
I was recently contacted by a nice man who has raised a now teenager since the boy was a toddler. He is divorcing his wife who is the mother of the boy. The boy loves him and wants to live with the man he knows as Dad and he wanted to know how to make that happen.
Unfortunately for him, the child can not make his own decision as to where he will live until he is 18. Since he’s not the legal father he can’t go for custody as legally it’s not his child.
If you want to get rights to a child you need to legally adopt them. I can’t imagine this callers soon to be ex wife would give approval to that now and if she doesn’t then it won’t happen.
It’s a shame for the child and really for everyone, but it’s the law. So if you do want legal rights to a child, adoption is really the way to go.