Divorce and child custody battles can be ugly for everyone involved, and it can especially be most damaging to the mental, emotional and physical health of the children, and this is, even more, when the custody battle is between unmarried parents. And while each state handles unmarried child custody battles differently, courts seem to agree on one thing: The child must be protected at all costs.
When a child is born to unmarried parents, the biological mother of the child is automatically granted sole custodianship. This is because courts do not assume paternity, which means the “father” is not automatically presumed as the “biological father” of the child unless otherwise proven by a paternity test. But the question remains: Who has the right custody of the child?
First and foremost, if you find yourself in a break-up with the person with who you have a kid and if the other party is adamant in pressing charges and you’re not quite sure what the legal process to pursue, you might want to consider commissioning the services of a reputable child support attorney that can help increase your likelihood of winning the case.
Remember: taking legal action should be a last resort and shouldn’t be the first action on your list. If you can talk things through and reach a resolution without pressing legal charges, then that’s a more rational course of action.
How Do Courts Determine Who Has Child-custody?
Family law across the United States only assumes legal paternity if the child was born if the couple is married. However, when a child is born outside of marriage, the courts do not assume paternity. If the “father” does not establish paternity, he has no legal standing to request visitation rights, shared custody, or any decisions relating to the welfare of the child.
Legal paternity can be established in numerous ways, and the easiest method is to ensure that the father’s name is on the child’s birth certificate or at least has helped fill out the birth certificate shortly after the baby was born. If none of those is possible, the father can complete a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form to submit to the court.
However, the mother can contest this by requesting a paternity test and vice versa until legal paternity is established.
Child’s Emotional Bond to a Parent and Preference
It is a well-known fact in psychology that it is easier to build a child than to repair an adult. Hence, the U.S. court’s top priority is to protect the child’s emotional health as much as their physical health. That’s why courts want to identify which parent the child has a deeper personal connection with to determine custody. And although courts look into other factors, they also consider the child’s preference.
The Parent’s Physical and Mental Health
Aside from the child’s emotional health, the court also takes into account the parent’s physical and emotional health when determining custody. The parent who is more sound of body and mind is preferred by courts when awarding child custody. If a parent is suffering from severe physical and mental ailments, then the court is unlikely to award child-custody to that parent.
US courts also take into account the parent’s ability to provide a comfortable life for their child. One of the most crucial financial considerations that the courts look into the monetary and living arrangements that a parent can give a child. The court initiates its independent investigation regarding a parent’s financial situation to determine whether they’re financially stable or not.
Evidence of Domestic Abuse
One of the most significant factors US courts consider when granting child-custody is allegations of domestic abuse and can ultimately determine who gets child custody. Apart from actual evidence of domestic abuse, the courts will also consider allegations of domestic abuse. The court will always prefer that the child stays in a safe environment.
Child custody legal battles don’t always have to be grueling and bloody. Sometimes all the court needs to determine who gets custody or shared custody, visitation rights, child support can be determined by two amicable parents agreeing on terms. In a perfect world, this is what courts prefer instead of long and exhausting legal battles and court dates.
Ultimately it is the court’s decision on who gets granted child-custody and will take into considerations all the factors that will enable the child to live in a safe and happy environment where he or she can grow up to be an upstanding citizen.