How Child Custody is Determined for Unmarried Parents

Posted June 6th, 2014 by .

Categories: Family Law.

child-custody-njTrying to get custody of your children is never an easy process, especially after a nasty divorce. But what happens if the parents aren’t married or in a relationship? How is child custody determined in this case?

First thing to keep in mind is whether both mother and father are the legal guardians of the child. This could be you’re the child’s biological parent or there was a joint adoption at the time the couple was together. If the parents are the child’s legal parents, then child custody is determined in the courtroom just like a divorce. There may be mediation sessions you have to attend. Then the judge will determine who gets custody of the child by following the legal standard of “the best interests of the child.”

And just like a divorced couple, the parents will have to decide on what type of custody. The judge could rule in favor of joint custody, where both parents are equally responsible for the well-being of the child, or could say that only parent has “physical custody” but the other parent has visitation rights.

However, a parent of the unmarried couple is not a legal guardian of the child, then things get a little sticky. The nonlegal parent has very limited legal rights to the child, even if that parent was the one who raised the child. That also means the nonlegal parent does not have to worry about financial obligations to the raising of the child.

Are you going through a custody battle? We’re here to help! Call the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, PC today and speak with our experienced child custody attorney. For more information on the rights of fathers going through a divorce, make sure you download our free e-book “Dads in Divorce: A Father’s Guide to the Rights and Realities of Divorce.”

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