Where child custody issues are concerned, unmarried parents face most of the same legal difficulties encountered by married parents. While custody laws vary by jurisdiction, the primary consideration is whether a party is the child’s mother or father. The courts consider a variety of factors when determining custody, and some of those are listed below.
Common Issues for Unmarried Parents Who Live Together
Some of the most common problems for parents who live together outside of marriage are:
Proving paternity, which is typically done with a birth certificate
Choosing a child’s name
Ensuring the child’s eligibility for insurance and government benefits
Visitation and custody after a breakup
When a Non-Legal Parent Cares for a Partner’s Child
If a non-legal parent serves as a parent to a partner’s child, they may not be able to make certain decisions. A signature on a medical or school document can only be taken from a guardian, and legal parents have priority in the decision-making process.
Can an Unmarried Custodial Parent Receive Child Support?
Child support depends on the children’s needs and the parents’ income, not their marital status. However, if a stepparent adopts a child, biological parents no longer have any moral or financial obligations.
Can Parents Claim a Child on Tax Returns?
If parents are not married, only one can claim a child on a tax return. Parents often work out plans based on custody, income or financial need. A parent receiving support doesn’t claim it as income, and the paying parent cannot claim it as a deduction.
When Unmarried Parents Live in Different States
In these cases, child custody follows the above-listed rules. However, the state and the court that make the decision are crucial. In interstate custody decisions, cases are usually heard in the state where the child has lived for the past six months.
Finding Legal Help
Child custody involves many emotional and legal issues. An experienced child support and custody attorney or general family lawyer can help unmarried parents protect their rights during custody disputes. Visit the website for more information on the firm’s child custody services, or click here today to set up a consultation.