Unmarried Single Mothers and the Law: Key Considerations

28 March 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog

Being an unmarried single mother is not always easy, and various legal issues can complicate matters a great deal. Knowing your legal rights as a single mother can help ease your burden in many cases. This article takes a look at some key legal considerations that unmarried single moms often face.

Child Custody 

As your child's biological mother, the law generally assumes that you have the right to custody. The child's biological father typically does not have this presumptive legal right. If the child's father wants to challenge your right to custody then he must usually go to court and try to win custody from a judge. Generally, for this attempt to succeed, the father must show that you are an unfit parent in some way, such as proving that you have abused drugs or are not physically able to give the child proper care. 

Father Visitation 

Even though your child's father might not be granted any custody rights, the courts usually believe that it's in the child's best interest to have a relationship with both parents. For this reason, courts typically allow the father of a child to have visitation rights even if the parents were never married. If you feel that a relationship with the father would be harmful to your child, you will need to present the court with a compelling reason to prevent the father from seeing the child. 

For example, if the father has exhibited violent tendencies in the past, this could be as a reason to keep him from spending time unsupervised visits with your son or daughter. However, the court might still allow the father to spend time with the child under supervision, even if unsupervised visitation is disallowed.

Father's Support 

The father of your child has a legal obligation to support his son or daughter independent of any other consideration. For example, this applies regardless of whether the father has been granted any visitation rights by the court. An important point to keep in mind is that if you apply for any type of government assistance, such as food stamps, the state is going to automatically take legal action to obtain financial support for the child from the father. 

Unmarried mothers of young children often face daunting legal issues that can make their lives more complicated. These issues are very difficult to navigate without the help of an expert. For more information concerning this issue, contact a family lawyer, such as Thomas & Associates, PC.