Can unmarried father take child from mother? The general answer is Yes, he can get custody of his child even if he is not married to the child’s mother. But it depends on some situations. Are you an unmarried father trying to understand your rights regarding your child?
Whether you’re considering taking your child from the mother or are just curious about what you can do, this post will give you three practical ways to approach the situation.
Can Unmarried Father Take Child from Mother: 3 Practical Ways
Can an unmarried father get custody? Let’s discuss a fact. Mr. Zak and his girlfriend have been together for five years, and during that time, they had one daughter, who is now three years old.
Unfortunately, they are going to break up, and Zak is worried about his right to child custody as he didn’t marry the child’s mother.
If you’re an unmarried father like Zak, it’s important to be aware of your rights when it comes to custody and parenting time. For you, there are three ways which I am going to discuss below:
#1. Try to Convince Her:
From the legal point of view, you need to prove paternity before claiming any legal rights over your child. But that is a lengthy and complicated process. So you can first try to convince her about your relationship and your role in their daughter’s life. If she agrees, it will be easy for you to get joint custody or even sole custody of your daughter.
If both of you work together and agree on child custody, then it will be best for the child. She/he will get to spend time with both of her parents and won’t have to go through the stress of a custody battle.
Above all else, a custody battle would not be in the child’s best interests. So try to convince her amicably. Fighting for child custody between unmarried parents is not good for any party.
#2. Go for Mediation:
If you can’t agree with the child’s mother, the next best thing you can do is go for mediation. In mediation, both parties will sit down with a neutral third party (the mediator) and try to come to an agreement about child custody.
The mediator will help both of you communicate with each other and figure out what’s best for the child. And if you can agree, then it will be much easier to get a court order for joint custody or even sole custody.
However, if mediation doesn’t work out, you’ll have to court and let the judge decide what’s best for the child.
#3. Go to Court:
If you cannot reach an agreement with the child’s mother and mediation doesn’t work, then your only option will be to go to court. Both parties will present their case in court, and the judge will decide what’s best for the child.
But, one of the biggest custody challenges for unmarried parents is to prove paternity if the mother doesn’t acknowledge him as the child’s father. In this situation, you need to prove paternity.
Without proving paternity, you will have no legal rights over your child. So, if you go to court, ensure you have enough evidence to prove that you’re the child’s father.
There is no presumption of paternity, meaning that unwed fathers are not presumed biologically related to their kids. As a result, an unmarried father can be denied child custody or visitation rights if he is not proven to be the biological father.
Usually, parentage is established through the father putting his name down on the birth certificate. In New Jersey, the father will sign a certificate of parentage, which is the legal way of establishing paternity. Only then can the father’s name appear on the birth certificate.
If the child’s mother disputes the father’s assertion of paternity, he must file a petition with the family court to establish his paternity.
Furthermore, if an unmarried couple does not reside together, the male would need to file a petition and establish paternity. Once paternity is established with certainty, the unmarried father gains the same parental rights as a married father.
Once you’ve proven paternity, getting joint custody or even sole custody of your child will be much easier. When both of the child’s parents have been lawfully established, custody and child support issues are usually treated as if they were married.
In most states, an unmarried mother who gives birth to a kid is automatically granted sole custody in most of the states.
But don’t worry. If you can prove your paternity, you have equal custody rights over your child. The court will start with the assumption that both parents must be involved in the child’s life and have equal access to him.
The focus will be on what’s in the child’s best interests. And if you can prove that you’re the best parent for the child, then you have a good chance of getting joint custody or even sole custody.
Once you have established paternity, you will need to file for custody with the court. Normally the court will consider the following factors to determine child custody:
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties between the parent and the child.
- The capacity and disposition of the parents to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his/her religion or creed, if any.
- The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care are recognized and permitted under the laws of this State in place of medical care and other material needs.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- As a family unit, the permanence of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
- The moral fitness of the parents.
- The mental and physical health of the parents.
- The home, school, and community records of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference.
- The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
Sometimes courts may reluctant to allow you to take the child from the mother as you are unmarried, but there are precedents where the court ordered the babysitter to pay child support. So talk to an expert lawyer about your issue.
Additionally, try to watch this video to understand more about unmarried dads’ custody, especially child custody laws for unmarried parents:
FAQs on Can Unmarried Father Take Child from Mother
What is a paternity test?
A paternity test is a scientific way of determining whether a man is the biological father of a child. It involves testing the DNA of the child and the man to see if they match. If the DNA samples match, it means that the man is the child’s biological father.
Paternity tests are usually done when there is a paternity dispute. For example, if an unmarried couple has a child and they later break up, the father may want to get a paternity test to prove that he is the child’s father. That way, he can get joint custody or even sole custody of the child.
So if you are in a situation in which the mother is threatening to withhold your son or daughter from you by disagreeing with you as a child’s father, it is very important to start a legal proceeding immediately.
What rights does a father have if he is unmarried?
If you are an unmarried father, you have the same rights as a married father. That means you have the right to see your child, spend time with your child, and be involved in your child’s life. Your marriage status can’t be used against you in the custody case.
You also have the right to child support from the child’s mother. But, for all of these, you need to prove paternity via the relevant birth certificate documents of the court-ordered DNA test.
Who has legal rights to a child if not married?
The child’s mother has sole legal rights to the child if not married. Generally, the father has no automatic paternal rights to a child born outside of marriage until proven paternity. Paternity can be established in several ways, including through DNA testing.
If paternity is established, the father has the right to seek custody and/or visitation rights to the child. However, even if paternity is not established, the mother still typically has sole legal custody of the child.
Can unmarried fathers win sole custody of their children?
Yes, an unmarried father can win sole custody of his child. But, it will depend on several factors, including the child’s preference (if the child is old enough to have a say), the relationship between the father and the child, the relationship between the mother and the child, and the stability of each home.
The father must also prove that he is the child’s biological father. This can be done through a DNA test. Once paternity is established, the father can then file for custody and/or visitation rights to the child.
If a mother who is suffering from bipolar can win the custody battle, why not you can? Try your best with all of the steps. Take the help of an expert family lawyer to make the journey more smooth.
If both parents are on the birth certificate but are not married who has custody?
If both parents are on the child’s birth certificate but are not married, they have joint legal custody of the child. That means that both parents have the right to make decisions about the child’s life, including decisions about education, medical care, and religion.
If one parent wants to move out of state with the child, both parents must agree. If they cannot agree, the parent who wants to move will need to file for custody in court and prove that it is in the child’s best interests to move.
So, these are some ways an unmarried father can take his child from the mother. But remember that it’s always better to work things out with the child’s mother first. If you can come to an agreement, it will be much easier and less stressful for everyone involved, especially the child.