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Rights and Responsibilities of Unmarried Parents

Rights and Responsibilities of Unmarried Parents

If you are the biological father of a child born to a woman you are not married to, you may need to take legal steps in order to establish your rights as a parent. When a child is born to a woman during a marriage, the law will assume the father is the husband. If this is not the case, the father must prove that he is the father before the relationship can be recognized by the Court.

Facts About Rights and Responsibilities of Unmarried Parents:

  • Mothers have AutomaticLegal Decision Making – There is almost never any doubt about the identity of a child’s mother – particularly when the birth occurs in a hospital. In most cases, the mother has full legal and physical custody of the child from the moment the baby is born. She holds all legal decision making power and the child lives with her. If the unmarried father steps forward to establish parentage of the baby, he may dispute these rights in order to obtain some for himself. But if he does not step forward to establish parentage of the child (AKA paternity), he usually can’t dispute the rights of the mother.
  • Fathers Must Establish Paternity – Fathers wishing to establish rights to a child born out of wedlock must first establish paternal rights by proving that he is the biological father and then request that the Court grant him visitation rights or legal decision making rights.
  • Unmarried Fathers May Pay Child Support – Once paternity is established, both parents are responsible for supporting the child financially. A parent can request that the Court order the other to pay child support with the amount of the support depending upon both parents’ income combined with legal guidelines and other factors.

The laws regarding rights and responsibilities of unmarried parents can be complicated, and each case is unique. For additional information or more details regarding the legal processes required to establish paternity or legal decision making and parenting time, get in touch with the experienced lawyers at Arizona Family Law Attorneys.


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