Many couples decide to live together and have a child without getting married. If the relationship doesn’t last do the same rules apply for unmarried couples with children as married couples? The answer is no. If a child is born out of wedlock child custody is handled differently than for couples that get divorced. Here are a few things for unmarried couples to keep in mind:
The mother of the child can have the father arrested for abandonment if he does not provide financial support for the child.
Mother’s Rights: If you decide to go your separate ways as unmarried parents the mother will automatically receive full physical child custody until you file a lawsuit to get the same rights.
Proving Paternity: If the father decides to contest child support he can ask to prove paternity.
Petition for Legitimation: If the father is looking to gain legal rights to the child and wants to have a relationship with the child he would file a petition for legitimation. This is done after you have proven paternity and allows you to exercise your rights as a father.
If you are an unmarried parent and need to establish a legal relationship with your child you should contact a family law attorney to discuss your rights and options.