UNMARRIED PARENTS: DON’T JUST STAND THERE, DO SOMETHING
Danger: Without Court Orders You Could Lose your Child.
More and more young people don’t want to get married. “It’s just a piece of paper,” they say, and “my parents (or friend or uncle) got married and look where they are.”
Then the kids come along, and everything is fine until one of you exercises your well-preserved right to exit the relationship. Mom usually feels entitled to the kids, and often will file a support action through the Department of Child Support Services. The non-custodial parent (almost always dad) finds that mom won’t let him see the kids, but she does expect child support based on her full custody.
Worse yet, until you establish paternity the custodial parent (usually mom) can take the kids and go to another state, and once she establishes residency there, you’ll find yourself litigating custody in Nevada, or Alabama or Florida.
Mom’s situation is no day at the beach either. She often has a dad who wants to leave the relationship without stepping up to the plate, either as a parent or financially.
When you break up, it’s important to have a conversation about the kids and then to get court orders. The divorce with children for unmarried parents is called a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship, more commonly known as a paternity action or a parenting action.
Getting a Judgment of Paternity gives greater status to your parenting relationship. Such a judgment will contain a parenting plan of how you will share time with Johnny or Jenny. There will be orders about removing the child from the state and county where you live. And, there will be orders regarding the parents’ financial obligations to each other for raising the children.
To find out more about your child custody rights and obligations, please click here or call us (760) 990-4752 to contact Thomas and schedule your initial consultation.