It is increasingly common for couples to have children without ever marrying. In these cases, many of the traditional laws governing divorce do not apply. Time-sharing, child support, and usually attorney’s fees, are determined in the same manner as they would be for a married couple. However, unmarried couples cannot avail themselves of alimony and equitable distribution (division of property) laws. Further, because unmarried parents some times display little to no history of any sustained period of cohabitation, the parents may have divergent parenting styles. This is often a source of friction between unmarried couples attempting to co-parent.
An unmarried father is often shocked to learn that he has no rights with respect to his child simply by virtue of being the biological father. A determination of paternity, usually through a court action, is necessary to establish a legal relationship between father and child. Many fathers are unaware that they are in fact legal strangers to their children. Some times, an unmarried father requires immediate legal assistance to prevent the child’s mother from taking the child out of the State or country. Most fathers are unaware of how swiftly they must act to preserve and ensure their rights with respect to their children. At Alspector Family Law, we understand the urgency in these particular situations and take immediate actions to establish an unmarried father’s rights with respect to his child.
Unfortunately, there also exist contrasting situations where a biological father fails to be responsible for his child. In some instances, there is an absence of any financial support by the father. In these instances, the biological mother must first establish paternity in order to obtain child support. Child support can be collected from an unwilling parent through income withholding orders and contempt proceedings. Many biological mothers struggle to support children on a single income. This situation is even more precarious when children are young. Child care is expensive, but also essential if the mother is to be able to work.
Your children are very important to us. At Alspector Family Law, we will promptly help in your paternity case to assist you in obtaining meaningful time with your children or financial support to create an appropriate environment for your children to thrive. We encourage you to contact Alspector Family Law for a consultation to determine how we can best help you proceed with your paternity case.