Unmarried parents undergo most of the same challenges as married parents when dealing with the legal issues of child custody. While different states have different child custody laws, in most states one of the main considerations is just whether you are the father or the mother of the child. If you are battling for child custody, you should have a lawyer on your side. Dealing with child custody as unmarried parents is a complex and emotional issue. You deserve to have someone on your side who understands the complexities of child custody and who will help make the process as easy as possible.
Mother’s and Father’s Custody Rights
When a mother is unmarried, she is presumed to have the primary right to custody of any children she had while being unmarried. She would, therefore, legally have the right to care, custody, and control of the child and her legal rights are greater than the rights of the father or another person. The mother’s rights can be overturned if it is proven that she is unfit to be a mother or abandoned the child.
Unmarried fathers are able to have custody of their child. In many states, if the child’s birth certificate has the father’s name on it, he will have an equal amount of standing in court as the mother and will be legally recognized as the child’s father. If the birth certificate does not state his name, his rights as a father depend solely on if he is suitable to have custody. An unmarried father is not able to win primary custody of a child if the mother is a good parent, however, he may be able to have some custody or visitation rights.
Issues for Unmarried Parents who Live Together
There are a variety of common issues for unmarried parents of children who live together. Some of these issues include:
- Choosing a name that both parents approve
- Proving paternity status
- Visitation and child custody if the parents break up
- Ensuring the child qualifies for government benefits and insurance
While the above mentioned issues are common concerns for unmarried parents, the court will decide any custody disputes by using the best interests of the child as the primary consideration. The court will consider the following when deciding on custody:
- Which parent is the primary caregiver
- Moral character of the parents
- Financial status of each parent
- The child’s preference, if they are old enough
Child custody is a complicated issue for married parents, however, it is extremely difficult for unmarried parents. Having an experienced child custody attorney in Collin County, TX on your side can help defend your rights throughout a custody battle.
Thanks to Scroggins Law Group, PLLC for their insight into family law and child custody for unmarried parents.