Unmarried mothers face a number of legal issues that must be dealt with to secure the health and happiness of their child. A family law attorney can help unmarried mothers navigate these difficult legal issues and secure adequate child support.
Unfortunately, many unmarried women find themselves alone after they become pregnant and the father of their child leaves. This abandonment can be emotionally taxing for a young woman by itself, and there are a number of legal issues at stake that must be handled as well. Not only must the child’s paternity be confirmed, child support must be secured from the baby’s father, and a child custody arrangement must be worked out between the parents.
Once an unmarried woman becomes pregnant, determining the paternity of the child is essential in pursing child support. With married parents, paternity is established automatically. However, if parents are unmarried, paternity establishment is not automatic. Both parents should start the process as soon as possible, so that the child will not have to suffer. Once the child is born, unmarried parents can establish paternity by signing the voluntary Declaration of Paternity. If the father contests the paternity, a paternity test can be administered.
Once paternity is established, a family law attorney can then work to get an order of child support from the father, and the California Department of Child Support Services can assist unwed mothers with child support collection and enforcement. Securing child support is an essential step for unwed mothers, as it offers the financial support necessary to make sure that the child is properly taken care of.
Child custody arrangements between unmarried couples can be quite complex and difficult to navigate. An experienced family law attorney can help unmarried mothers construct a child custody arrangement that will work for both parents and will serve the best interests of the child. When establishing custody, the courts will take a number of factors into consideration including:
- The child’s health, safety and welfare
- The stability of each parent’s home environment
- The history of physical abuse
- The parents’ criminal history, as it may restrict custody or visitation orders
- Whether or not siblings are involved
- The wishes of the child, if he or she is old enough to make them known
A family law attorney can provide assistance in working through all of these issues. Just because a young woman is not married when she becomes pregnant doesn’t mean that the mother, and child, do not have legal rights.
To learn more about the Maggio Law Firm visit http://www.maggiolawfirm.com/.