Indiana Custody Laws for Unmarried Parents
Parents in Indiana take on a lot of stress when they divorce one another and must decide on custody and visitation rights. When parents of a child weren’t married, however, determining custody can become even more complex. Unfortunately, the father of the child in an unmarried custody battle will have to do more work.
Maternity is automatically established when a mother gives birth. If the father is present at birth, his paternity can be established by signing the birth certificate. When a baby is born out of wedlock and the father isn’t present, the mother is given automatic primary custody of the child.
A Terre Haute family law attorney from Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm can help explain the Indiana custody laws to both mother and father when the time comes that a mother wants to seek child support or a father wants to gain paternity rights.
Establishing Paternity Is Essential
Child support, custody rights, and visitation rights can’t be sought until paternity is officially established by the law. If paternity isn’t established on the day that the baby is born, there are a few other ways it can be done.
The mother who is seeking child support can try to establish paternity by filing for support. A father hoping to seek custody or visitation rights can also establish paternity in hopes of beginning a custody battle. Once a paternity affidavit or court order has been filed to establish paternity, a DNA test will need to be performed to prove that the claimed father is biologically related to the child.
Factors to Determine Custody and Visitation Rights
Once paternity is established, custody or visitation are determined much like they would be if the parents were married. The only difference in custody battles between unmarried parents is that the mother may already have primary custody of the child, so the father is now fighting for joint custody, shared custody, or visitation.
The best interests of the child will be used to determine how often the father will get to see their daughter or son.
Reach Out to a Terre Haute Family Lawyer
As a father, it can be frustrating having to fight for your parental rights. It can also be frustrating as a mother to give up some of your parental rights after being the sole parent for an extended period of time. Whatever the situation may be, having an experienced attorney by your side can help the judge understand your side of the story.
If you’d like to discuss your case with a Terre Haute family law attorney from Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm, fill out the contact form below or call 1-812-232-7400 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.