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Dealing With Child Custody When You Are Unmarried

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Custody is one of the most difficult aspects of ending a relationship. When the parents are unmarried, some of the issues can be more complicated to navigate. In many cases, the mother will receive full custody with the father pursuing custody if he wants to. Here are some things you should know about custody if you are unmarried:

Mother's Rights

When the parents are not married, the custody is almost always automatically given to the mother of the child. This allows her to have all of the power to make decisions with regard to the children.

The mother has the power to choose their school, where their home will be, their medical decisions, and so on.

Father's Rights

The father, however, is left to his own devices when it comes to child custody. When the parents are able to get along, the parents can work out a co-parenting plan among themselves so that custody is more even.

However, when the unmarried parents do not communicate well after the end of the relationship, the father has to take action to pursue legal rights to the children if he wants to do so.

This is particularly difficult to do if the father is not listed on the child's birth certificate. In cases like this, the father will have to take steps to establish paternity. This involves taking DNA samples from the child and the father so it can be tested.

If the results are positive, the father will have to pursue custody in court. He will have to show he is able to provide a stable home for the kids. He will also need to prove he is a solid fixture in the lives of the children. He will also need to explain how he has a daily presence in their lives and how his removal could have a negative impact on their well-being.

Child Support Payments

The parents of the children are required to support them financially regardless of marriage. The court will examine both parent's finances to determine how they are both able to pay for the children's needs. It will also be determined how much, if anything, one parent should pay the other. The custody order is then entered into the court.

If one parent's financial situation changes, the child support order will have to be modified to reflect the change. For instance, if one parent loses a job or has a dramatic decrease in income, the order will have to change, at least temporarily.

Speak to an attorney for more information.