Who gets custody of child if never married? Unmarried child custody cases present some different child custody issues than the married then divorce child custody case. Unmarried fathers are often battling for contact and child custody visitation rights to their children. Unmarried mothers are often fighting for child support from the father.
Unmarried child custody issues for fathers
Who gets custody of child if never married? In most states, the unmarried mother will be awarded sole physical custody unless the unmarried father commences action to be awarded custody. Until then, the father is often left with very little he can do at the beginning of separation to gain access to his child unless the unmarried parents agree to access. If an unmarried mother denies the father access to his child the father will often need to establish access through the family court, which generally includes establishing paternity and petitioning the court for parental rights and waiting for a judge's decision. An unmarried father will rarely ever win custody over an unmarried mother unless the mother is completely unfit. An unmarried father usually at best can only take the necessary steps to gain some form of child custody and visitation rights through the courts -- unless the mother is cooperative and agreeable out of court. The time and money involved for an unmarried father to gain access to his child when the mother of his child denies him contact can be disheartening. However, unmarried fathers should not be discouraged as more and more fathers petitioning the court for access to their children are being awarded joint custody. And in many cases, after a parental relationship is determined, father's are gaining joint physical custody and equal parenting time under the best interest of the child standard. In other cases, where the mother is determined to be unfit or has demonstrated behavior or a course of conduct that is not in the best interest of the children, such as denying a child access to their father, fathers may gain primary custody or full physical custody.
Unmarried child custody issues for mothers
With some statistics showing that most all child support cases involve the father paying child support to the mother it stands to reason it is also the case in unmarried child custody cases that mother's are often fighting for financial support. Generally, a finding of paternity is required in order for a father to be forced to pay financial support of his child. Without a paternity finding by the court, there it's often impossible to force an unmarried father to pay child support. Voluntary child support payments by an married father without a finding of a paternity may not be enforceable. In other words, if an unmarried mother is relying on voluntary payments by the father with a finding of paternity then she may find herself in a tough situation if the father decides to stop paying voluntarily.
Unmarried child custody cases can present different child custody issues than divorce child custody cases. Unmarried fathers are often battling for child custody rights while unmarried mothers are often fighting for financial support.
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