Child Custody Rights Between Unmarried Parents

October 5, 2010 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under Child Custody

By Scott David Stewart -

While unmarried parents do have rights, they are different when compared to those of married or even divorced parents, and when it comes to child custody, it’s important to understand the similarities as well as differences concerning the rights of unmarried parents.

If paternity has not been established – either by the father acknowledging the fact or via a court ruling, usually obtained when child support is sought – then the unmarried father has no legal custody or visitation rights. So, to be able to exercise your custody rights, you must establish paternity.

In most cases when parents are not married, the father does have a meaningful relationship with his child. However, if he is not living with the mother, he is usually at her mercy when it comes to visitation. If she is remarried or living with another man, this could further complicate the relationship. In fact, the mother could move out of state and take the child with her if an unmarried father has not legally obtained visitation or custody rights in family court.

There have been cases where the mother has relocated with the child to another state without the birth father’s consent. If this happens, usually emergency measures have to be taken, involving a court order to compel the mother to return with the child in a specified period of time.

If you are unmarried and want to have regular access to your child, you should obtain a court-ordered parenting schedule that assures both parents of regularly scheduled visitation time. In addition, the child benefits more from a regular schedule that the parents have worked out between themselves and that has been sanctioned by the court. If this is not done, an unmarried father could remain dependent upon the mother’s goodwill to dictate his relationship with his child.

If paternity has been established and an unmarried father is paying child support, it is still necessary to obtain a court order for parenting time. An unmarried father can even seek primary custody of his child if he believes he has a good case and it would be in the child’s best interest to remove him or her from the mother’s home. The issues that the court must consider in child custody or visitation disputes between unmarried parents are essentially the same as those applied in Arizona divorce cases.

The quantity of parenting time an unmarried father has can also affect the amount of child support he has to pay. And while someone should not request more parenting time in an effort to reduce child support, the amount of parenting time may have a direct bearing on an increase or decrease in child support obligations.

A former Deputy County Attorney for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Arizona, Scott David Stewart is a Phoenix divorce lawyer and founder of Law Offices of Scott David Stewart, a Maricopa County family law firm with practice areas in divorce, adoption, child support, custody and visitation, juvenile law and domestic violence. For more information, visit

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Fathers Child Custody Rights

By Micheal Stone -

A father’s role in a child’s life is one of the most influential factors in that child’s life. If you are like thousands of other fathers in the world you may be in the situation where your significant other is trying to take your child away from you. This is not the best option for your child. My name is Micheal Stone and I like you found myself in a situation where I was going to lose custody of my child. By taking some key steps in the right order, I managed to win my custody battle so that my kids and I can live happily together. I will lay out these steps for you in an easy to follow process that will have you well on your way towards winning your custody battle.

• The first step towards winning your child custody battle is to pick out the right lawyer. You will need to find a lawyer who specializes in custody litigation. A lawyer that does not specifically fight custody battles may have a slight disadvantage. Try to pick a lawyer who has fought custody battles in the same court room that your custody battle will take place so that the judge respects his opinion and morals. When it comes to child custody litigation, the judges personal bias and opinion has much more presence relatively to criminal cases. If your judge feels you’re a good father, he will award you custody.

• The second step is to begin building your case. The most important way to successfully build your case is to tell your lawyer everything about your marriage as well as your relationship with your child. Be sure to mention your spouse or significant others relationship with the child as well and be clear and truthful. By exaggerating the case or a story you may end up looking foolish in court. Your lawyer only knows what you tell him, so be sure to not leave anything out.

• The third step is to spend time with your child and leave him out of the middle of your divorce. Do not bring the child into the fights, and try to stay out of ear shot while arguing. The child could end up feeling that it is his fault, and this will not go well with the judge. Make sure to explain to your child the best way you can what is happening and make sure you reinforce that you are leaving him behind in any way.

• The final step when beginning your child custody battle is to try and mediate the case. Litigation is very expensive, and there are services that will mediate your case for a small fraction of the cost of litigation. Mediation is the process of having a single individual hear the case of both sides outside a courtroom and come to a ruling. This ruling is binding by law so do not take the mediation lightly.

By following these steps you will have an advantage over your spouse or significant other. Remember to keep your child out of the cross fire of divorce and be clear and concise with your lawyer. DO NOT stretch any truths or make up any stories because it could come back to bite your case in the end.

Want to learn more about fathers child custody rights? Visit my website to learn helpful tips and information on how to win your child custody battle.

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Child Custody – Key Elements of the Ultimate Parenting Plan

By Dianne Ophelia -

The Ultimate Parenting Plan must have sufficient detail to address every issue which could create an argument in the future.

Parents often choose to enter into a custodial plan with only generalities because it is easier than discussing and agreeing upon a lot of technical issues.

What Parents do not anticipate is that in the future, when those issues arise, (and they will in virtually every child custody situation,) the parents are then forced to incur additional attorney’s fees, court costs, frustration and anger when addressing the problem.

It is much easier to agree upon the details of a parenting plan before “the situation” arises. When the issue is an abstract one, rather than one staring you in the face, agreements are much more easily obtained. Also, you have plenty of time to resolve differences rather than trying to do so in an emergency situation.

Most Courts have some form of proposed custody orders or parenting plans. I suggest that you ignore boilerplate forms.

Your family is unique and your custody orders and parenting plans should be tailored to your particular family’s needs, not general forms used by thousands who go through the family court system.

Some of the More General Provisions in a good Parenting Plan include:

  • Legal Custody: What decisions are made by which parent regarding health, education and welfare of the children.
  • Physical Custody: Create a time sharing plan that is perfect for your family, not the boilerplate categories of a general form. If an infant is involved, you can include an increased time share plan.
  • Summer, School Breaks, Holidays, and Special Occasions: Address each one of them, even your Birthdays, Religious holidays, weekend holidays, long breaks etc. to avoid problems in the future.

After completing the above, then turn to the less general, but equally important parts of a parenting plan. A few examples are:

  • What happens if a visitation is cancelled?
  • Transportation issues,
  • Child Care issues,
  • Vacation and Travel issues,
  • Extracurricular activity issues,
  • Access to records, doctors, school personnel etc.
  • Issues with religion.

Then there are the more esoteric issues which are equally as important. Some examples are:

  • No contact with certain people,
  • Gun control,
  • Smoking and substance abuse issues,
  • Swimming pool restrictions
  • What happens if a parent gets in legal trouble,
  • What happens if a child gets into legal trouble,
  • Relocation Issues.

The aforementioned are a short list of all of the issues which can and should be addressed in a child custody parenting plan.

During my 30 years of custody and divorce practice, I have seen and analyzed thousands of parenting plans and custody orders. A good plan must contain plenty of options, however, it also must be easy to use and understand.

Some of the parenting plans I have seen lately would take an MBA months to figure out and complete. Stay away from those that are too complicated or irrelevant for your situation.

Once you find the right parenting plan for you, take the time necessary to “hash out” differences in opinion with regard to every aspect of the plan so that when that situation arises in the future, both of you already have the guidance and direction to resolve the problem.

Often a custody coach or mediator is the fastest and least expensive method to obtain the help needed to resolve differences of opinion about options in a plan. Try a coach or mediator if you and the other parent are unable to agree upon all of the terms of the Plan.

Put in the effort now to save money and anguish in the future.

You can get a copy of my “Ultimate Parenting Plan” as a FREE bonus with the purchase of any of my custody or divorce eBooks. Visit me at

I also provide Custody Coaching and Custody Mediation Services. Based upon my 30 years of Divorce and Custody Practice, I am uniquely qualified to help you obtain a resolution of all issues and find that Perfect Parenting Plan for your Family.

Article Source:—Key-Elements-of-the-Ultimate-Parenting-Plan&id=4583399

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