Chesapeake Child Custody Attorney Explains Custody Rules for Unmarried Parents
What are your custody rights?
Whether married or not, a Chesapeake child custody attorney can assist when going over your legal rights to:
- child support; and more.
Your ultimate goal should be to create a parenting plan with your child’s best interests at heart. When it comes to the rights and responsibilities of parents, marriage has little to no effect on the law.
A child born out of wedlock has the same right to basic care and financial support as a child born in wedlock. This applies whether or not the parents are living together or are in a relationship.
Both parents are required to provide for the children they bring into the world, which is why determining paternity is often a good starting point on ensuring their needs are met. When a couple is married, the husband is assumed the father if he is married to the mother.
If the couple is unmarried, the man is legally the father if he:
- admits to being the father;
- puts his name on the birth certificate; and
- presents the child as his own to friends and family.
When paternity is in question, a paternity test can be ordered. Either the mother or the purported father can file a paternity action with the courts in order to put the matter to rest. Today's testing methods allow results with around 99 percent accuracy, so there is little room for doubt. Once paternity is determined, the parents of the child can go about addressing matters of child support and child custody.
Both parents are eligible to file for custody of their children. This is true whether the parents are married, unmarried or divorced. The courts in Virginia decide child custody based on the best interests of the child.
This means that they look at both parents' qualities and decide what type of parenting plan would be the safest, wisest and most stable fit for the child. It's important for a parent to have a Chesapeake child custody attorney on his or her side when facing custody litigation.
In some cases, parents prefer to sort out custody without court intervention in order to have more control over the decision and to save time and money. It may be to the parents' and child's advantage if the parents agree to some form of mediation or collaborative law. These types of alternative litigation allow the parents to come to mutually agreeable parenting arrangements with less stress and less cost than in a traditional courtroom litigation.
Contacting a Chesapeake Child Custody Attorney
At Hofheimer/Ferrebee, we understand that the health and happiness of your children is your number one concern. We will work with you to address any fears and anxieties you may have about your children’s future. Our attorneys will guide you every step of the way to ensure that you achieve the best possible child custody and child support arrangements for you and your children. Call to speak with a Chesapeake child custody attorney – 757-425-5200.