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Complexities of Child Custody Involving Unmarried Parents

When unmarried parents end their relationship, they must go through many of the same motions to establish custody as legally married parents. Nevertheless, there can be certain complexities that apply when establishing custodial rights of unmarried parents.

Importance of establishing paternity

Unlike their married counterparts, when an unmarried couple has a child paternity is not assumed, but must be established. During and after the unmarried couple’s split, the unmarried mother is typically given a primary right to custody, care and control of children resulting from the relationship.

If an unmarried father wishes to have partial or full custody of a child, he must establish paternity through a court order or by having his name listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate. However, if a child was born while the mother was married to someone other than the biological father, the mother’s legal spouse will be listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate. In this case, the biological father may file a paternity petition.

Once paternity is established, the father may be awarded partial custody of the child. If the mother is deemed to be unfit to parent or has abandoned the child, then a father may be able to establish full custody.

Support for custodial parents

Unmarried parents who have custody of their child may receive child support. As with married couples, child support is determined based on incomes of both parents and the amount necessary to properly look after a child. An exemption to this standard would be if a non-biological parent adopts the child. When another party adopts a child, the biological parent’s financial responsibilities to that child are terminated.

For more information on special issues concerning child custody and unmarried parents, speak with a trusted Long Island custody and family law attorney at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C.

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