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Child custody cases can often times be complicated, however, it becomes a testy ground to navigate for Scottsdale child custody lawyers when the parents are unmarried. Establishing parental rights can make decisions like custody rights, child support and visitation rights more problematic. When two people have a child outside the institution of marriage, custody is automatically awarded to the mother. While the father may pursue custody of the child for a variety of reasons, it becomes harder to navigate.

To better understand your specific rights as a parent, either a father or mother, below are some of the general rules which apply to child custody cases involving unmarried parents.

The rights of the mother

With regards to child custody cases, married and unmarried parents are generally faced with the same legal issues and legal concerns, although the law makes it more complicated for unmarried parents. As a rule of thumb, unmarried mothers are favored for primary right to custody of the children thus giving the woman a complete authority to make some of the major decisions affecting the child’s life.

A mother who has been awarded primary right to custody will be able to decide all major and minor issues relating to:

  • Home residence
  • The child’s school
  • Childcare
  • Child’s health needs including choice of doctor, dentists, therapist, counseling and more.
  • Sports, Church, summer camping, and other extracurricular activities the child may be involved in
  • Vacations and travels


The rights of the father

A father who wishes to be a part of his child’s life may be able to work out shared custody or visitation arrangement with the mother of the child, however, in several cases, this may be complex due to certain issues which may exist between the unmarried parents. If the father’s name is written on the birth certificate, then, he has the parental rights to hold the equal weight of time and other activities as the mother, thus giving him ground to challenge the primary right to custody. However, if the father’s name does not appear on the child’s birth certificate, then the father must prove paternity to pursue any parental rights.

In the event the father can indeed establish paternity, then he must also be willing to prove to the court that he is able to care for the child and has a suitable environment for the positive growth and development of the child. Single fathers, however, are generally underhanded with regards to primary physical child custody of children, especially when the mother is deemed a good parent.

A father may, however, stand a bigger chance of arranging a legally binding shared custody arrangement or visitation schedule.

Child support

For unmarried parents, both parents will be required to make financial commitments towards the support of the child’s needs. Depending on the incomes of both parents, responsibilities will be shared among each parent as the court will be in charge of evaluating the contributions of each parent towards the needs of the child and also deliberate on how much financial help should be contributed in child support payment.

While cases involving unmarried couples may be complex and complicated, visit to learn more.



Tiffany Fina Law Firm

7411 E 6th Suite 103

Scottsdale, AZ 85251



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