Your Rights as a Never Married Parent

June 26, 2016

never-married parents

Fathering or giving birth to a child creates legal rights and obligations related to providing for the child’s housing, health, education, and general well-being. Asking a family law court to clearly define and enforce those rights and obligations often makes sense when a child’s birth parents do not marry. Seeking advice from an attorney who specializes in child custody, parental visitation, and child support issues when going to court also makes sense. 

General Rights of a Birth Parent 

As a birth father or mother, you can 

  • Request sole or shared custody of your child
  • Request visits with your child
  • Request a role in deciding where your child lives and goes to school
  • Request a role in deciding where and how your child will receive medical care
  • Contest an adoption of the child 

“Request” is the key word regarding all but one of the listed rights because both of a child’s parents have the same basic rights. Objecting to having one’s child adopted is a limited right even for the man or woman who serves as the custodial parent. The prospective adoptive parents, representatives of child services agencies, and, when old enough, the child all have a say in the matter. 

Parents who never marry can work out details of raising and caring for their children amicably, or they may need to have a judge to settle disagreements. In either scenario, the overriding consideration must be finding arrangements that best serve the child’s interests. 

General Obligations of a Birth Parent 

A court can order a birth parent to provide for a child financially even if the father or mother has expressed no interest in being otherwise involved in the child’s life. The family law attorneys with Edward F. Whipps & Associates explain many of the details of child support in Ohio here

The most important thing to know is that a birth parent’s obligation to care for his or her child exists until a court relieves those duties. For instance, a father who never married his daughter’s mother is expected to pay some of the costs for the girl’s housing, food, clothes, and other expenses. The mother can ask a court to write this obligation into a legal contract by obtaining an order for child support. Failing to meet the schedule for child support payments would then expose the father to serious civil and criminal consequences such as having his wages garnished and getting his driver’s license suspended. Before police get involved, however, the father could file court papers to have the support agreement modified. 

The child custody and child support attorneys in the Dublin, Ohio, offices of Edward F. Whipps & Associates are available to answer all your questions regarding your rights and obligations as a nonmarried parent. You can request a consultation online or call us at (614) 461-6006.

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