Special Considerations for Child Support, Custody between Unmarried Parents

Unmarried parents who end a relationship may be faced with certain challenges that do not apply to married couples. If you are an unmarried father, it is important to know the rules surrounding child support and custody so that you can effectively protect your rights.

When a child is born to unmarried parents, the state typically grants full custody to the mother automatically. This means that from the moment of birth the mother is the sole, legal decision maker for the child. By having full custody, the mother is also able to have the child live with her full-time.

Establishing paternity

For the father of the child to receive any parental rights, he must first establish paternity. To be recognized as a parent, he is required to complete a DNA test proving biological paternity, and must also sign a formalized document stating that he is the father shortly after the child is born.

Child support and custody

An unmarried father who has established paternity now shares the mother’s responsibilities in providing proper care for the child. These duties can include providing financial assistance for the child through child support. If the mother files a motion for the court to decide on child support payments, a judge can step in and determine what amount of monetary support is appropriate. Similar to married couples, child support payments will be determined based on both parents’ incomes and the best interests of the child.

If a father would like to increase time spent with the child, he can also file for a court order to increase visitation. However, the unmarried father must have established paternity before seeking any visitation or custodial rights.

If you are an unmarried father and would like legal guidance on establishing child support and custody court orders for your kids, speak with a skilled Long Island family law attorney at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates today.

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