Is Unmarried Father Entitled to the Custody of a Child?

When married or unmarried couples separate, it is essential for a child’s current and future well-being that couples try to compromise on issues of support, custody, and visitation. Constructively doing this may be a significant challenge.significant challenge.

However, the ability for both parents to get along civilly is the best gift you can ever give your child. When the parent problems are terrible, and if the parties are not willing to put their egos aside, then court battle cannot be avoided. The custody of a child from married parents living together is not an issue. However, most unmarried fathers do not live with their children when they are born.

In most cases, these fathers have to use the justice system to establish custody, but a number cannot afford it. Unlike in the past where the care of a child was awarded to the mother, today no state requires the custody to be given to the mother.

Before or after the commencement of any legal process, many parents try to establish a parenting agreement. The agreement includes various details such as which parent is the primary caregiver, visitation periods, decisions on child’s education, and health care matters. For married couples, the agreement helps the court in deciding how the parents should enforce their rights. If the parents cannot agree, then a contested hearing is in order.

However, the law is clear that unmarried mother has the custody of the child automatically. According to the law, an unmarried female who gives birth to a child is the only legal custodian and residential parent of the child until the court orders another person as the legal guardian. The absence of a custody order gives mothers the power to decide if fathers can see their children. Without clearly established responsibilities and rights, everything becomes a fight.

The laws on child support are a real issue for unmarried fathers. Due to high rates of incarceration and low levels of educational attainment, many eligible men are unable to offer economic support to their children.

The unmarried father can request for custody if he contributes to the maintenance of the child or if he maintains contact with the child. If at the time of birth, the father claims that his name appears on the birth certificate, then he has high chances of being rewarded with the child’s custody if he contests in the court.

The rights of a father depend on his suitability to have custody. An unwed father will never win custody over a caring and good mother, but he can establish some visitation or custody rights. However, no laws are governing cohabiting relationships. Even if the couples have been staying together for more than the ten years and later break up, then the father will always be disadvantaged. Common issues that parents who are not married face include proving paternity of the child, coming to an agreement on the name, visitation, and custody. In most cases, the court decides the custody based on the best interest of a child, without regard to the gender of the parent. It also involves various types of child care. For example, there is a distinction between physical and legal custody. Legal custody requires a parent to make important decisions on the child’s well-being such as when and where to go to school. Physical custody determines where the child spends most of his time. The legal system must approve modifications or changes in child care. Parents should also remember that decisions regarding the maintenance, access, and custody of a child are always open for review if the situations change.

Father’s rights movement and feminists should focus on the societal and legal inequities faced by unmarried fathers to help them have time with their children. Both parents whether married or unmarried should be allowed to spend equal time with their child if there are no records of serious conflict or violence.

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The Family Law Act is used in most cases that are related to unmarried couples. Because the rights of unmarried parents are not protected as that of married couples, it is important for cohabiting couples to enter into a contract that states how property and children shall be shared equally. It is also important for the court to give unmarried fathers the chance to be with their children during times of separation. Instead of looking at the marital status, the court should concentrate more on the welfare of the child such as the religion, education, intellectual, morals, social and physical well-being.

The court should also grant regular access to the child to the unmarried father if the custody is given to the mother. The influence the behavior of a parent can have on the child should also be considered. If the unmarried mother does not want to have the child, then the father should apply for custody. The time the child has been with the unmarried father should also be considered.