How Does Child Custody Work for Unmarried Parents?

Pierre Domercq Child Custody and Visitation

How does child custody work when the parents of the child are unmarried? There are many scenarios for unmarried parents, and the core issue in these cases is “paternity.” Paternity is the process of establishing the legal rights of a father under California law.
In order to establish parental rights, the father must establish paternity. If both parents are in agreement about paternity, the paperwork at the hospital of the baby’s birth will provide the necessary basis. There is an acknowledgement and affadavit but the process is fairly straight forward.
If there is a good working relationship between the couple but they are not living together, our experienced family law attorneys at Burke & Domercq can prepare a child custody and parenting plan agreement and ask the Court to approve it. This will almost always require the father to discuss child support with the California Department of Child Support Services or DCSS.
When there is a disagreement about the parentage of a child, or when the parties are not getting along the formal legal process of establishing paternity is crucial to protecting the father’s rights including child custody and parenting time. Proving paternity is a fairly simple DNA test, usually a swab of the inner cheek of father and baby.
California law, and the family law Court here in North County believe it is in the child’s best interest to spend quality time with both parents. The father should request custody and parenting time along with the paternity lawsuit.
This is why it is important to work with our experienced paternity and family law lawyers. We work with our clients to protect their interests and represent these objectives throughout the paternity and child custody process.
In California all of the custodial rights of a child born to unmarried parents resides with the mother unless and until the father asserts and receives the legal protections of paternity. If you are the father of a child and you are not married to the mother, or are a member of the father’s family and would like to schedule an appointment to discuss paternity and child custody we invite you to call 760-712-3741 or contact us online.