Unmarried parents encounter many of the same issues as married couples where child custody is concerned. While laws vary by jurisdiction, a person’s relationship to the child is a major factor. Unmarried mothers have presumptive custody, and their rights are superior to the father’s or anyone else’s rights. Unmarried fathers must take action to gain custody of their children, but they have equal rights if their name is on the birth certificate. Typically, unmarried fathers cannot win primary custody over a fit mother, but they can establish visitation and custody rights.
Factors Considered by Courts When Awarding Visitation and Custody Rights
The child’s best interests are the main factor in all custody disputes, but a Child Custody Attorney in Richmond TX will also consider other factors such as who is the primary caregiver, each parent’s financial status, their moral character, and the child’s preference if they’re old enough.
Common Problems for Unmarried, Cohabiting Parents
Some issues for parents who live together but are not married are proving paternity through a birth certificate, choosing an agreeable name, and ensuring that the child can get insurance and other benefits. If the parents end their relationship, they must still decide matters of visitation and custody.
Those Who Serve as Parents to Partners’ Children
If a non-judicial parent fulfills the role for a partner’s child, that person may find themselves unable to make all the decisions a legal parent can make. Signatures on certain documents can only be obtained from legal guardians, and a legal parent always has priority in decision making. The simplest solution is for the non-legal parent to go through the adoption process.
Can Custodial, Non-Married Parents Get Child Support?
Child support is predicated on the child’s needs and the parents’ incomes, not their marital status. One notable exception exists in stepparent adoptions. Here, the biological parent no longer has an obligation to support the child.
Seeking Help from a Lawyer
Child custody is an emotional and complex issue, and a Child Custody Attorney in Richmond TX can protect a parent’s rights during a custody dispute. By hiring an attorney with Thevendtlawfirm.com, parents can do what’s in the child’s best interests while safeguarding their own rights.