When unmarried parents break up, they have special challenges with custody and child support. These issues are very hectic to some extent. They need to set up custody and child support orders.

No doubt, it is normal to feel overwhelmed. But you don’t have to face them alone. If you’re separating from your partner and you’re not married, you must contact the best custody lawyer in Orange County, CA. Your lawyers have extensive knowledge to deal with such issues. Plus, they understand your legal options and protect your rights as a parent.

In this blog, we will discuss the common challenges regarding support and custody every unmarried parent faces in detail. Let’s look for a better understanding!

1.  Paternity Establishing Challange

In California, the child’s father is not automatically recognized if a woman has a baby and is not married. The situation becomes more weird if the mother and father are still together. On the other hand, if a couple is married, the mother’s husband is automatically assumed to be the child’s father. However, in the case of unmarried parents, they have to establish paternity in California.

However, the question is how to establish paternity. There are some legal ways to parentage. Let’s have a look!

  • You can sign a voluntary declaration of paternity at the hospital when the child is born or later.
  • You can request your local child support agency to establish parentage. This can be done while the mother is still pregnant and might include genetic testing.
  • Lastly, you can start a parentage case through the court system. But if you’re going with this option, it is better to hire the best lawyer in California.

Remember one important thing, you have to establish paternity legally. If you don’t make it legal, you can’t manage the family issues in the court of California.

2.  Parental Rights of Presumed Parents

A presumed parent is someone recognized as a parent by the courts, even if they are not the biological parent. For instance, if your name is on the birth certificate, you will be a presumed parent.

There are the following ways to demonstrate you’re the presumed parent:

  • Your name on the birth certificate
  • The court establishes your relationship with the kid

When an unmarried couple separates, one parent might stop the other from visiting their child. Both biological and presumed parents have legal rights to custody and visitation. If you are being kept from your child, you can ask the court for help. But before going to court, you must strongly support the best attorney in California.

3.  Child Support Enforcement Challange

In California, both parents must financially support their minor children. Remember one thing, the court sets up child support orders during a divorce. But when it comes to unmarried couples, things become more crucial.

If you want to enforce child support, you need to contact your local child support agency (CSA). For this, you have to follow a simple process:

  • Locate the child’s parents
  • File a summons and complaint
  • Establish parentage
  • Create an agreement with help from a caseworker
  • File the order
  • Attend a court hearing if needed

Once a child support order is registered with the courts, the person has to pay support legally. If they don’t, the CSA or courts can take actions like suspending driver’s licenses, putting liens on property, and withholding tax refunds.

4.  Court Always Prefer Child’s Best Interest

If unmarried parents file for child custody, the court will set a hearing. The court will listen to both parents before making a decision.

A family law attorney can help in this process. A court-appointed representative will review the case to see if one or both parents should have custody.

The court’s main concern is the child’s welfare. Even though mothers often get full custody, the court must check if the mother can legally and responsibly care for the child.

The court determines what a reasonable parent would do in a custody dispute and decides which parent the child will be happiest with. The court gives sole custody to one parent or joint custody to both parents.

The court can also give temporary custody if needed during the dispute. Normally, the court won’t give temporary custody unless it’s clear the parent will act in the child’s best interest.

5.  Unmarried Father Faces More Issues

Unmarried fathers sometimes feel they don’t get a fair deal when it comes to their children. They have to pay child support, which they can get in trouble for not paying. On the other hand, the government doesn’t help fathers.

Plus, any agreements parents make without going to court don’t count legally. The only way for unmarried fathers to protect their rights to visit their children is to ask a court to make an order.

If there’s no custody order, the court will say the father spends zero percent of the time with the child. This means the father will have to pay the highest amount of child support.

6.  Lack of Legal Knowledge

Many people going through a divorce hire a lawyer to understand their rights and get help with their situation. When people break up without legal help, they might not learn about their rights. They may think it’s not needed because the state wasn’t involved in their relationship. This passive approach can lead to misunderstandings. For example, a father might wrongly think he can’t see his kids if he doesn’t marry their mother.

Final Word

If you need to ask for child support or need help enforcing an existing order, You must talk to an experienced lawyer. No doubt, there are several law firms in Orange County, but you need to pick carefully. According to my research, Hills Law Group is considered one of the prestigious law firms in Orange County, California. Remember, professional lawyers can protect your rights. If you are an unmarried parent with custody or child support issues, you must approach the best law firm in California.