Unmarried Child Custody Issues – Child Custody

What are the top issues unmarried parent’s faces when custody is disputed? Unmarried custody cases can present some different child custody issues than divorce cases where the parents were married. Fathers who were not married are often fighting for the right to have contact with their child and establish custody and visitation rights. Unmarried mothers are often fighting to establish a child support award against the father. While unwed parents face many of the same custody issues married parents struggle with, there are some additional challenges in the unmarried custody case – specifically for the unwed dad.Unmarried Child Custody Issues for Fathers
Who gets custody of the child if the parents were never married? In most states, an unwed mother will be awarded sole physical custody unless the father establishes paternity and commences action to be awarded custody. Until then, the father is often left with very little he can do to gain access to his child unless the parents agree to it. If an unwed mother denies the father access to his children the father will often need to establish access through the family court, which generally includes establishing paternity and petitioning the court for parental rights and waiting for a judge to make decision. A father who was not married to the mother of his child rarely ever wins custody over the mother unless mom is found by a court to be completely unfit. And for younger children, the chances are often even less. There is still a heavy bias that favors mothers over fathers, especially with younger children. An unmarried father usually at best can only take the necessary steps to gain unmarried child custody and visitation rights through the courts — unless the mother is cooperative and agreeable out of court. The time and money involved for an unmarried father to gain rights to his child and to establish a parenting plan can often be extensive. Regardless, unmarried fathers should not be discouraged as more and more fathers petitioning the court for access to their children are being awarded joint custody with parenting plans that include the child living or spending a substantial amount of time with their father.Unmarried Child Custody Issues for Mothers
With some statistics showing that most all child support cases involve the father paying support to the mother it’s easy to see why it is also the case in unmarried child custody cases that mom’s are often fighting to obtain a support award against the father. Generally, a finding of paternity is required in order for an unwed father to be forced to pay financial support of his child to the mother. Without a paternity finding by the court, it’s often difficult and in some cases impossible to force an unmarried father to pay child support. Voluntary child support payments by an unmarried father without a finding of a paternity may not be enforceable. In other words, if an unwed mother is relying on voluntary payments by dad without a finding of paternity then she may find herself in a tough situation if the father decides to stop paying voluntarily.Unmarried custody cases can present different issues than divorce cases involving children. Unwed dads are often battling for child custody rights while unwed mothers are often fighting for financial support. Whether you’re the mother or father involved in a custody dispute, you’d do well to become educated on the subject of custody issues including custody determinations and modifications.Copyright © 2009 Child Custody Coach(TM). All rights reserved.

Child Custody Law – Child Custody

The Rhode Island Family Court judge utilizes the “best interest of the child” standard in Rhode Island Child Custody and Child Visitation cases. The Factors a Family Court Judge should use in making a “best interest of the child” determination are set forth in the seminal Rhode Island case of Pettinato v Pettinato, 589 A.2d 909 (R.I. 1990) Child Custody, Visitation and Placement issues are usually determined by the RI Family Court in Divorce, Post Divorce, Paternity, DCYF, Family Law, and Child Custody Cases.The Basics of Legal CustodyThe Judge of the RI Family Court can award either sole legal custody to a parent or may award Joint Legal Custody to both parents. The issue of legal custody is completely independent of the issue of visitation. RI Visitation Rights are beyond the scope of this Rhode Island Law Article. Please Consult with Rhode Island Child Custody Lawyer David Slepkow about the facts of your case.Sole Legal custodySole Legal Custody means that a parent can make all important and major decisions concerning a child’s health, welfare and upbringing without consulting with the other parent. These major decisions include religious, educational, medical and general welfare decisions. The parent with sole custody of the child will also have physical placement of the child. The parent with sole legal custody has complete access to medical, educational and other records related to the child.Joint Legal CustodyJoint Legal Custody means both parents should be involved in major / important decisions concerning a child’s upbringing, education, medical and religious welfare. Theoretically, both parents with joint custody have equal rights in making important decisions regarding their child or children. Both parents have full rights to access all medical, educational and other records pertaining to the child. In order for joint Custody to be feasible, the parents must have some level of communication and respect for each other to allow them to co-parent.Physical Placement – Physical custodyThe Court must also award to one parent physical placement of the child or children. Physical placement is where the child will be living on a day to day basis. Physical placement is also commonly known as “physical custody” The parent who does not have physical custody of the child will have reasonable visitation rights. The parent with physical placement of a minor child has the right to receive Rhode Island Child support from the parent who has visitation rights. Child Support is typically determined by the Rhode Island Child Support GuidelinesShared Physical PlacementShared Physical placement (Shared Physical custody) is when the child splits time residing with both parents. Shared Physical placement is relatively rare in Rhode Island. In some instances the child may be placed with one parent for half the week and then the other parent the other half of the week. Some parents will alternate weeks or months. This type of arrangement is usually only done by agreement of the parties and is rarely ordered by the Court Absent an agreement.Split Physical PlacementSplit physical Placement is when one child lives with the father and one child lives with the mother. It can also be when the children are split in away so that at least one child lives with a parent and at least one child lives with mother.If the Parents cannot agree to Legal Custody, Physical Placement or Visitation, then The RI Family court must determine what is in the “best interest of the child” This is very subjective and analytical standard.It is advisable to contact a Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer or a RI Family Law Attorney to get legal advice concerning the facts and circumstances in your case.Rhode Island Attorneys legal Notice per RI Rules of Professional Responsibility:The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers / attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer or attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.