Child Custody Attorney for Unmarried Parents in New York

Long island divorce lawyer asserts parents’ rights to see their children

Parenthood comes with rights and obligations, regardless of whether the parents ever married. However, establishing legal parenthood and custody determinations might entail more complications when the parents never wed. If you are looking to retain a child custody attorney for unmarried parents in New York, Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. can help. We are Long Island’s largest and busiest law firm dedicated exclusively to family law and divorce. Our attorneys have experience in paternity, child custody and child support litigation, and we work tirelessly to deliver the best results possible.

Who gets custody when parents are not married in NY?

Under New York law, child custody determinations are to be made based on what is in the young person’s best interests. However, many men are not aware that unless they are married to their child’s biological mother, there is no legal presumption that he is the infant’s father. This is true even if the couple has been in a long-term relationship or lives together. A man who is not a minor’s legal father has no standing to seek custody or visitation, so the first priority is to seek an order of paternity.

Do unwed mothers get sole custody in NY?

Unwed mothers are not automatically entitled to sole custody. However, if a biological father has not established legal paternity, he does not have the standing to seek custody or visitation rights. Our Long Island child custody lawyers work with men who need to file paternity petitions, as well as those who have legal parentage, but do not yet have custody or visitation rights. As with all custody cases, decisions are made based on what the judge believes to be in the child’s best interests. Typically, this means an order that gives both parents frequent, meaningful contact with the child they share.

If they were never married, can a mother keep a father from seeing their child?

As long as legal paternity is established, a mother doesn’t have any legal ability to prevent her former partner from seeing his son or daughter. However, custody issues can be more complicated if the father has not been a part of his child’s life, or if he has a history of behavior that might present some danger to the youth. Our firm understands the profound positive difference a father’s presence can have in his child’s life, and fights for fathers’ rights in all types of situations.

What rights do unmarried fathers have in New York?

An unmarried father must assert paternity by signing a voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and filing it with the child’s birth certificate, or petitioning the court to establish paternity, usually through a DNA test. A man who has established paternity is the legal father of the child and has the same rights and responsibilities he would have if he’d fathered the child while married to the mother. There are many reasons why someone might pursue a paternity determination, such as:

  • A legal father wants visitation or custody of a child
  • An unwed mother wants child support payments from the father
  • An unwed mother wants to terminate the biological father’s rights to clear the way for an adoption
  • A child wants the right to inherit from their father
  • An unwed mother wants information about the father’s medical history that may be important to the child’s health and welfare

Our attorneys fight for unmarried fathers’ rights to child custody, and mothers’ rights to adequate child support. Since New York’s custody laws are gender neutral, a father’s marital status should not prevent him from obtaining full custody if that is in the best interests of the child.

Factors used by courts to determine custody in New York

Judges are free to consider any information they consider to be pertinent when making a custody determination. Factors that are commonly used include each party’s fitness as parents and their willingness to communicate and cooperate on issues concerning their child. Judges also look at each parent’s physical and mental health, as well as their resources and ability to create a healthy environment for their son or daughter. If there is a parental history of domestic violence or substance abuse, supervision might be required during visits by the noncustodial parent.

Modifying and enforcing custody in New York

Once a custody order is entered, there still might be situations where a parent requires legal support. Sometimes, parents of a child don’t marry because they do not want to live in the same location permanently. If a mother or father moves a significant distance for a job, to take care of an ill family member or any other reason, our attorneys assist with modifications to custody orders either through negotiation or a petition to the court. The lack of marital ties could also make communication and cooperation more difficult. Should your co-parent fail to honor the parenting plan, we take prompt action to secure enforcement of the relevant terms or a suitable revision.

Contact a Long Island family lawyer regarding your child custody matter

Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. assists Long Island residents with custody issues, including proceedings where the child’s parents were never married. Please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online to schedule a consultation regarding your case.