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Understanding Custody Rights For Unmarried Parents

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Many child custody cases don’t involve divorce. Instead, they involve separation or paternity disputes between unmarried parents.

Even though you were never married, you still may have to share parenting responsibilities. Learning to effectively co-parent can be a challenge. For married and unmarried parents alike, the child custody process is designed to promote arrangements that recognize the rights of both parents while ultimately upholding the best interests of the children involved.

Unmarried Fathers

Unmarried fathers often underestimate the parental rights available to them. However, those rights aren’t necessarily automatic. Even if you have been named as the father on the birth certificate, you may still need to pursue legal fatherhood through legitimation proceedings.

During legitimation proceedings, you can also request:

  • Custody and visitation
  • A legal change of your child’s last name
  • An updated birth certificate reflecting you as the father

Questions about fathers’ rights? Read more about the rights you have as a father.

Unmarried Mothers

As a mother, you have the right to seek child support from the biological father of your child. To do so, however, you will need to first establish paternity (legal fatherhood). Once paternity is established, the father may decide to file a complaint for legitimation, which will give him parental rights and responsibilities, including the opportunity to request custody and visitation.

Get Help From A Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney

At Family Lawyers of Atlanta in Roswell, Georgia, we help unmarried mothers and fathers lay claim to their parental rights. You can turn to us for guidance on legitimation proceedings, child custody, child support and any other legal issues pertaining to custody rights for unmarried parents.

To get started with a free initial consultation, call lawyer Family Lawyers of Atlanta at 404-418-7777 or send an email with a brief description of your situation. Appointments are available at any of our five Atlanta-metro offices: Roswell, Atlanta, Marietta, Snellville and Duluth. If you are unavailable to meet during business hours, we offer evening and weekend appointments upon request.

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