Custody of children for unmarried couples is quite similar to those of married couples who go through a divorce. The state in which you reside will ultimately determine what matters are handled, and which parent will get the most ‘sympathy’. A child custody attorney is able to guide you more accurately along during the process of custody arrangements.
The Mother Reserves Primary Right of Custody
When the mother is not married, the mother still maintains the natural right to custody of the children when they are born. In this case, the mother will have the power to decide the care, control and rights of the child and can enforce those rights whenever she chooses. These rights can be taken should the father be able to prove that she is unfit or unable to care for the child.
The Fathers Rights
Your rights of the father role can be superseded should the court award you custody or joint custody of the child. Your name will have to be on the birth certificate, or a DNA test will have to be performed, in order to determine that you are the natural father of the child. In this case, you will have to take a test, provide proof and then return to court to award the custody of the child to you.
The Different Factors For Custody
When it comes to what is best for the child, the factors will weigh in on what the court feels is best. The consideration of the child is always first and foremost, and anything after is what is determined during proceedings.
- The first thing that the court will take into consideration when determining the custody of the child is who has been the number one caregiver of the child up until now.
- The next thing that they are going to look at is who has the means to provide for the child. It will not weigh this decision lightly as there are financial hardships on anyone.
- The next factor is who is the person mature enough to care for the child therefore if a child is in the care of someone who may not be mature or old enough to care for the child, the custody could go to the other parent.
- The next decision is based on who is the child wanting to live with should the child be old enough to choose, this varies from state to state.
The most common issue of parents who are not married but live together to face is that in many cases, paternity testing is going to have to be performed. If the parent has their name on the birth certificate then this is not such a big issue.
Another issue is then deciding which name goes on the birth certificate. The parents will then need to decide which insurance they place the child on and the benefits awarded to the child should a break-up occur.
All things are considered when the parent vacates or decides that they want to separate and go their own way and provide for their child when they leave. The hardest part is making sure that you keep your role active after the breakup when the breakup is hard on either person. Seek advice from a child custody attorney to help you achieve your wants during the breakup process.