When most people think of child custody, they think of divorce. In the divorce process, parents reach an agreement about where children will live, how the children will be financially supported, and how much time each parent will spend with the children. If the parents were never married, the mother has sole legal and physical custody until a court order says differently. An unmarried father has no legal rights to custody or visitation of the child. Only a legal parent can ask the court for custody or visitation. If both parents of the child have been established legally, the disputes will likely be handled in the same manner as if the parents were legally married. Unmarried couples may not be legally bonded, but if they have a child together, some legal issues may needed sorting out after a breakup. The primary factor that influences custody decisions is whatever is in the best interest of the child. Courts do not like depriving parents of their rights unless they deem it absolutely necessary.
Courts Determine Which Parent Get’s Primary Custody By…
- Financial Status of Each Parent – Whether they can properly care for the child in a financial sense
- Residence of the Parents – Whether the child has formed strong attachments to their local community and school
- Moral Character of Each Parent – Whether the parent treats the child with love and respect, and provide the child with a safe and stable environment, etc.
- The Child’s Input – If they are old enough
Gaining Custody of a Partner’s Child
Gaining custody as a non-biological parent can be difficult, but it is still possible in a few situations. Generally, you need the biological parents to consent to your custody. Alternately, you could try to get custody by arguing that they are unfit and that you are already serving as a parent to the child. Only a judge can give you custody, which you must request by filing a petition with the appropriate court. This is possible, and common in family situations that are not considered “traditional”. There are many cases in which a parent’s partner is more present in a child’s life that their birth parent, and therefore more suitable as a designated guardian. The legal proceeding in this situation would resemble an adoption of more than a custody dispute. It is possible to create a case for adoption if the child’s birth parents and other family members are not fit to care for the child.
A qualified attorney can help you analyze your situation and determine whether you can seek child custody. In particular, you should have a lawyer represent you if one or more of the biological parents is contesting custody.
We can help families on both sides of this issue. We are committed to helping families resolve legal challenges and get back to their lives. We offer the guidance and support that you will need when you are involved with the legal system.
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About Helmer Somers Law
Helmer Somers Law helps individuals and businesses navigate the complex system of rules that accompany all legal situations. We are licensed to practice in both Kentucky and Ohio and offers flexible, affordable payment terms for our services. We welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and become your lawyer for life! It’s a fact of life in the modern world. There comes a time for virtually every adult American when the services of a competent, dedicated lawyer are required. Circumstances such as divorce, bankruptcy, estate planning or an income tax audit demand that your rights be protected, and your long-term interests advocated for with diligence and perseverance. When you call Helmer & Somers Law, you can rest assured that they will be.