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Extra custody issues that unmarried parents must address

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2024 | Child Custody And Support |

Establishing child custody rights in California can be a complex process with unique challenges. But when a child is born to unmarried parents in California, it creates a unique set of legal considerations around custody rights and responsibilities.

6 common custody concerns for unmarried parents

While married parents automatically share equal custody rights, unmarried parents must take additional legal steps to protect their parental rights.

  • Establishing paternity: Unmarried fathers must legally establish paternity through a voluntary declaration or court-ordered genetic testing before determining custody.
  • Asserting parental rights: Unmarried mothers have automatic custody rights, while fathers have no legal rights until they prove paternity.
  • Custody arrangements: Like married parents, unmarried parents can pursue sole or joint legal and physical custody through the courts.
  • Child support: Even with little or no visitation, unmarried fathers must pay child support based on income.
  • Visitation enforcement: If denied visitation, unmarried fathers must petition the court to enforce rights after establishing paternity.
  • Relocation restrictions: Parents must get court approval before moving far away with the child.

Failing to understand and address these custody issues can have long-lasting effects on the well-being of the children involved.

Protecting your rights as parents

If you are an unmarried parent facing any of these custody issues, you should act quickly to protect your rights. Demonstrating your commitment to co-parenting is crucial, primarily since the court focuses on your child’s best interests.

The court may require you to attend parenting classes and go through mediation to develop a comprehensive parenting plan. With the proper legal guidance, you can assert your rights and understand your options while providing stability for the children.