If you are unmarried, but have a child (children) with a partner whom you are separating, you may be concerned about child support and custody. As a family lawyer, like from Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols knows, nothing may be as important to you as your children. Your assets, property, and material items cannot replace the love and bond you have with them. Now that you are separating from their mother or father, you might wonder how the laws apply to your case – especially because you were never married.
Understanding the Rights of Child Custody for Unmarried Parents
Child custody rights somewhat vary for unmarried parents. Although each state has their own specific rules, there are similarities. Usually, until the biological father obtains a court order to assert his custody rights (as well as parental rights), primary custody will be presumed to be with the mother. This is often true whether a paternity action has been filed, or an Affidavit of Parentage was drafted at the time of birth. In general, unless child custody is litigated, the mother retains custody of the child. The father may not have any custody or visitation rights until the necessary pleadings have been filed. A family lawyer may be needed in order to complete this.
You can turn to a lawyer for the legal representation and answers you may need. They will be happy to discuss with you issues such as the rules and laws for unmarried parents, child custody, child support, parenting time, and more.
If you are the father of a child who wishes to have a relationship with him or her, and you are not married to the mother, it is very important that the right pleadings are filed with the court in order to establish your parental rights.
Child Support for Unmarried Parents
According to the law biological or adoptive parents owe a duty to their children to support them. If they fail to do so, the court can order them to step up. The amount of child support paid, and who will pay it, depends on factors such as:
- The income of each parent
- The number of children requiring support
- The number of overnight stays each parent will have
- The tax status of each party
- The amount each parent pays for the child’s health insurance
- The cost of child care
- Whether either party has other children to support
Based upon the courts’ findings, child support will be ordered. The custodial parent is presumed to contribute directly to the child; therefore, it is the noncustodial parent who will likely be ordered to pay support. The rules for unmarried parents are largely the same. If you are seeking support, or have been ordered to pay support, and you need legal assistance, call a family lawyer.