Child Custody Laws for Parents Who Are Not Married

Child custody can be a complex issue, and it becomes more so when parents are not married. In Florida, the law states that unmarried, biological parents have equal rights when it comes to custody and decision-making concerning the child’s welfare. However, there is a key complication for fathers to take note of. Read on to learn more, and contact our custody lawyer in Hernando County, FL, with any additional questions.

Establishing Parental Rights

Unmarried mothers automatically receive parental rights to the child at birth. Thus, she has the right to custody and decision-making on child-rearing issues, such as education and medical care. However, if an unmarried father wants to establish parental rights, he must undergo a DNA paternity test to prove he is the biological father.

Determining Custody

After establishing paternity, both parents are legally recognized as parents, and they have equal custody rights. They must then decide the child’s living arrangements, visitation schedules, and financial matters.

Whether or not they can come to an agreement, both parties should work with a custody lawyer to ensure their rights are protected and the appropriate processes are followed. They will undergo the same procedures as married or divorced couples to determine custody and visitation, establish a parenting plan, and contest issues in court if necessary.