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Attorney Carrie Wilcox

Does child custody matter if you weren’t married?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2022 | Child Custody

You know that couples who get married and then divorced often have to go through and make determinations about child custody after the divorce. They’ve had children together, and they share the responsibilities and the living space with those children. After the divorce, they have to divide up both the time and the responsibilities between the mother and the father.

But what if you have a child with your partner and you simply don’t get married? Maybe you’ve never thought that you wanted to be married because it all sounds like too much of a hassle. Maybe the child was unexpected, and you just didn’t anticipate it happening at this time in your life. No matter how it happened, if you and your partner break up, is there anything you need to know about child custody? Or does it no longer apply since you weren’t married?

You still have parental rights

Child custody can certainly still be very important in a situation like this. You may need to get a court order to ensure that both you and your ex know what obligations you have.

Keep in mind that you may need to establish paternity in order to get this ruling. If a father has not been established as the parent, then the mother might get custody of the child. This doesn’t mean that the father can’t get time with his child, but he just needs to prove that that child really is his before the court is going to order that the mother allows him to have that time.

You can see how complicated this can be, so make sure you have a good idea about the legal steps you’ll need to take.