One of the most misunderstood and complicated issues in Greenville, SC, family law cases is the issue of how custody disputes are resolved in unmarried families. When two people have children together without getting married, they may assume that separation will involve the mother getting sole custody of the children. They may also assume that the father does not have as much right to the children as the mother. There are a few things wrong with these assumptions, but the most important issue is that it is not all about the rights of the mother or the rights of the father. Rather, married or not, the custody issues that families face in Greenville, South Carolina, are ultimately about the children’s rights. You don’t want to fight the other parent as if you are enemies in a battle. You want to fight with the other parent against all of the hazards that could harm your children. The attorneys at the Elliott Frazier Law Firm can help you to achieve that goal and answer any questions you may have. Read on to learn about the most important questions concerning custody in an unmarried family in Greenville, SC.
Does the Mother Automatically Get Custody in an Unmarried Family Separation?
Whenever an unmarried family with children separates, the children are automatically in the custody of the mother, unless otherwise ordered by the court. If paternity has not been established, then the father may need to request a paternity test. Once paternity has been established, then the father only needs to petition the court for visitation rights or custody, depending on the case.
How Can a Father Establish Paternity in a Greenville, SC, Family Law Case?
In cases where the parents of the child are married, the husband is automatically presumed to be the child’s father. However, in cases where the parents are not married, there is no assumption of paternity. The mother of the child can bring an action against the suspected father to establish paternity in an effort to obtain child support and define the father-child relationship. If this happens, the potential father can contest paternity and get a paternity test, accept paternity and give up his right to contest paternity, or do nothing at all and likely end up identified as the father.
In cases where the father has already signed the birth certificate, despite not being married, paternity is considered to have been established by this act. In cases where paternity has not been established, but the father wishes to establish it, then the suspected father can request a paternity test himself.
What Does the Greenville Family Court Judge Need to Determine Custody?
When an unmarried family with children separates in Greenville, South Carolina, the family court judge will need information about both parents to decide custody. He or she will wish to learn as much as possible about both parents. That includes their living situation, any drug or alcohol abuse, what kind of family support system each parent has, and the jobs and schedules of both. It will also include whether or not either party has a stable home life and whether joint custody is an option.
Does the Father in an Unmarried Family in Greenville, SC, Have a Say in Abortion Decisions?
When it comes to abortion in South Carolina, the father cannot force the mother to have one. It is ultimately up to the mother whether or not to have an abortion, and she cannot legally be pressured to do so. Having said that, the judge may take the father’s request into consideration when determining custody and visitation rights after the child is born. If the father wants the mother to have an abortion, and the mother chooses not to, this does not mean that the father will be off the hook for child support. It also does not necessarily mean that the father will not get visitation rights. It all depends on the details of the case, and the judge will consider multiple factors in these decisions.
What Happens When a Child is Born to a Married Woman Who Had an Affair in Greenville, SC?
If a married woman has an affair with someone else, and if she has a child from that affair, then the husband will still be the legal father of the child. However, this can be addressed if and when the couple gets a divorce. Either side can take steps to prove that the child is not the biological child of the husband. In such cases, the child will be appointed a guardian ad litem. This is the person who will advocate for the best interests of the child. Further, if the biological father of the child is known, then he will be included or informed of any legal actions that occur in Greenville, South Carolina, family court proceedings that involve his child. A paternity test may be ordered to verify paternity.
How Can a Greenville, South Carolina, Family Law Attorney Help Unmarried Fathers and Mothers?
Having a child when you are not in a relationship with the other parent or separating with the mother or father of your child when you are not married can be complicated and confusing. If there are any doubts as to paternity, you may need to get a paternity test to establish parentage. If there are no doubts or if paternity has already been established, then you will need to learn more about your rights, your child’s best interests, and how to co-parent effectively from an emotional and legal standpoint. Working with a skilled Greenville, South Carolina, family law attorney can help both parties to achieve their goals in doing what is best for the child or children. Call the Elliott Frazier Law Firm to learn more about how we can help and to get answers to any other questions that you may have.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.