Custody Issues Facing Unmarried Parents In Westlake Village

Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi A Professional Law Corporation Child Custody

In most cases, when people hear about child custody cases, they assume a couple is getting divorced. Custody battles can become a central focus of divorce cases, but what happens if a couple has children but was never married?

At the Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi, we recognize that not every couple decides to get married. More and more, it has become the norm for couples to cohabitate. However, this can change the way separation proceedings occur, especially when there are children under 18 involved. For unmarried couples, as with married couples, each parent has rights over their children as long as paternity has been established. If you need a Westlake Village child custody attorney to help you sort through all of this, call us today.

An Overview Of California Custody

It is vital to understand the basics of child custody when going through a separation. First, there are two types of custody:

  • Physical custody has to do with where the child will live.
  • Legal custody deals with which parent will make major decisions pertaining to the child’s life. (healthcare, education, religious, etc.)

There can be joint or sole custody awarded for both types of custody but they do not have to be the same for both.

  • Both parents could have legal custody while only one has physical custody and vice versa.
  • One parent could have both sole physical and legal custody.

A visitation schedule will need to be established for non-custodial parents and issues of child support payments will need to be worked out during separation as well.

What About Paternity Testing?

Unwed mothers are automatically given custody at the time of birth. The mother does not have to take any action in order to assert her rights. A father gains rights when paternity is established. Paternity of a child needs to be determined, especially when issues of child custody and child support are ongoing. The paternity of a child can be determined a few ways:

  • Paternity of a child is assumed if a couple is married at the time of the child’s birth. Both parents’ names will be put on the birth certificate at that time and both parents will have rights over their child.
  • The father can sign a voluntary declaration of paternity. This can be done at the hospital at the time of birth and both parents’ names will go on the birth certificate. If can also be done at a later date as well.
  • The court can be petitioned for a court-ordered paternity test. This petition can be made by a child’s mother, by the man who wishes to establish paternity, a child support agency, an adoption agency, or the child themselves if they are over 12.

What You Can Do Now

At the Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi, you can count on having a qualified and experienced attorney by your side to help you get through the challenges of separating when you have children under 18 years of age. When you need a Westlake Village child custody attorney, you can contact us for a consultation by clicking here or calling 805-379-4550.

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