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Child custody rights for unmarried parents

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2022 | Custody & Visitation |

There are many custody arrangement options available for unmarried parents in California.

Parents who are not married should know their rights regarding child custody and visitation. Furthermore, it is important for unmarried parents to pursue custody arrangements that prioritize the needs of their children.

Custody arrangements

Families can share custody and child-rearing responsibilities in many different ways. For instance, unmarried parents can share joint physical custody in which children spend significant amounts of time living with both parents. Also, one parent can have primary custody but allow visitation to the other parent. In some cases, courts grant sole custody to a single parent.

In addition, California law allows parents to share legal custody. When parents have joint legal custody, both parties can impact their children’s medical care, education and religious upbringing. Legal custody enables noncustodial parents to maintain influence in their children’s lives.

Establishing paternity

Courts prioritize the interests of children and families when creating custody arrangements for unmarried parents. Mothers automatically have full custody and responsibility for the well-being of their children. However, unmarried fathers need to establish paternity before they can take legal actions to arrange for custody or visitation rights. A father can sign his child’s birth certificate to declare paternity voluntarily. In many cases, fathers can benefit from making formal legal arrangements to retain visitation rights and custody of their children.

Unmarried parents should consider their options for sharing custody of their children. In addition, fathers who are not married must establish paternity to obtain custody or visitation rights.