Navigating Parental Rights

Being a parent is an incredible experience filled with joy, challenges, and sometimes a dose of uncertainty.  If you are an unmarried parent, navigating the legal system can add a layer of complexity. At Brungess and Kezirian, LLP, Attorneys at Law, we understand those concerns and aim to provide clarity and support during such an important time in your and your child’s life. This guide will empower you with knowledge about your rights and ensure the well-being of your children.

Understanding Your Rights

Family law for unmarried individuals can feel like a maze, but remember this core principle: every parent, regardless of marital status, has the right to play a role in their child’s life. This principle guides decisions ranging from child custody and parental responsibility to establishing legal paternity – all of which will shape your child’s future.

Establishing Paternity

The First Step for Many Fathers

For unmarried fathers, the first step in securing parental rights is establishing paternity. It can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start – do you sign paperwork at the hospital?  Is there a time limit?  This is more than just acknowledging a biological connection; it’s about giving yourself a legal foundation for advocating for rights related to custody, visitation, and child support. 

Paternity can be established at a child’s birth or later on, and the law recognizes and upholds the rights of unmarried mothers as well.

Co-Parenting: Finding Common Ground for Your Child

Once paternity is established, it’s time to start thinking about what healthy co-parenting looks like. A legally-backed co-parenting agreement can really make a difference.  We know this paperwork does not compare to the excitement of baby photos or choosing a name. However, it’s an important way to outline how you and your child’s other parent will tackle responsibilities like education, healthcare, and creating a loving, stable home.

Custody and Visitation: Prioritizing Your Child

Child custody law is where things can sometimes feel stressful. Words like “physical” and “legal” custody might leave you unsure about what you’re entitled to.  A big part of the law’s focus is ensuring the child’s best interests are met. The court will carefully look at your home environment, the specific needs of your child, and how you bond with them to make decisions on custody and visitation arrangements. It’s important to remember that your role as a parent is valued, regardless of your relationship with the child’s other parent.

Child Support

A Shared Responsibility
Child support is another key area. It’s normal to have questions about how much will be paid and who is responsible.  Calculations involve factors like both parents’ income, the child’s needs, and any existing custody arrangements. Think of child support as a way to team up with the other parent in providing for your child’s future, even if you disagree on other things.
The Importance of a Strong Advocate
Sometimes, even with the best intentions, disagreements arise. This is where expert legal help becomes crucial. Whether you find yourself facing a custody dispute, negotiating child support, or crafting the ideal co-parenting agreement, Brungess and Kezirian, LLP, stands ready to advocate for you and your child.

Knowledge is Power
Understanding the legal process can make a huge difference for unmarried parents. Don’t hesitate to seek clarity on issues like custody, child support, and establishing paternity.  We want you to feel empowered to make the best decisions with confidence.

The Bottom Line

The legal journey for unmarried parents can have twists and turns, but Brungess and Kezirian, LLP is committed to being your guide. We believe that every child deserves the love and support of both parents, regardless of marital status.  Our goal is to help you foster a positive co-parenting relationship, protect your rights, and create a secure future for your child.

Let’s Talk About Your Situation

If you’re ready to take the next step, we’re ready to help.

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