Fighting For Child Support When Parents Are Unmarried

Child custody cases for unmarried parents are quite different from those that involve divorced parents. Divorced fathers often fight for their right to retain contact or periodically visit their children after the separation while divorced mothers usually line the courtrooms battling for child support award from the fathers. For unmarried parents however, there are a few variations involved in child custody dispute cases.

A number of important issues arise for both the unmarried mother and father when child custody is taken up in court. When the parents of a child are not married to each other, sole physical custody of the children is often awarded to the mother. Unless a father establishes paternity though court approved procedures and takes a strong action to be awarded custody of his children, he is usually left with very little chances of gaining access to them.

If the unwed mother denies a father access to the children, he has to seek action in a family court to establish paternity and wait for the judge’s final decision. Full custody of the children can only be granted to unwed fathers if the mother is found completely unfit to raise them. For younger children, the chances of an unwed father being awarded custody have always remained slim, and a lot of time and money is involved in these procedures.

Statistics also demonstrate an increasing number of mothers going to court to obtain some form of support from the unwed father. In these cases, the mothers have to first establish the paternity of the father so she can demand financial support for the children under her custody. Without seeking the help of the court, it is often impossible for mothers to get the fathers to pay for their fair share in raising the children. When support is delivered voluntarily, mothers face the threat of losing this anytime a father decides to stop these contributions. But with a court decision after paternity is established, garnishments against the salaries or any form of income the father makes can be arranged, and the children are assured of continuing financial support until they are of age.

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