Child Custody for Unmarried Parents

Unwed Parents Have the Same Rights

Custody and Child Support Issues Between Unmarried Parents

Marriage affects property division and alimony, but it has no legal bearing on child custody or child support. Married, divorced or never married, parents have the same rights under Ohio law.

The only significant difference is venue — disputes between unwed parents are heard in juvenile court rather than family court. Treneff Cozza Law, LLC has represented many such clients in the juvenile courts of Columbus, Franklin County and throughout central Ohio.

If the two of you were not married when your child was born, and you are at odds over custody, visitation or child support, contact us today to discuss your case and your legal standing.

Custody Determination Involving Unmarried Parents

Although the mother is the natural custodian when paternity has not been established, once it has been established, there is no presumption that the mother automatically gets full custody simply because the biological father never put a ring on her finger. Perhaps it was a one-night stand or a relationship that ended in a break-up. Perhaps you lived as common-law husband and wife but never made it official. Perhaps one or both of you have since married another person.

Regardless of the circumstances, the juvenile court will consider the best interests of the child in determining child custody. Our lawyers represent men or women who are seeking sole custody, primary custody, a shared parenting arrangement, or regular visitation. We also represent unmarried parents in modifications of existing custody orders.

• See our related pages on Same Sex Custody Issues and Paternity/Parenting Rights.

Child Support and Unmarried Parents

Child support obligations apply whether the non-custodial parent is actively involved in the child's life or has no contact with the child. There can be many complicating factors, especially if the paying parent lives out-of-state. We represent either party in juvenile court determinations, modifications or enforcement of child support when the parents never married.

Treneff Cozza Law, LLC has experience representing professional and semi-pro athletes (or the other parent) in child support determination. The normal support guidelines may not apply, because an athlete's income often fluctuates. Some receive paychecks for only six or seven months of the year. Some have a "feast-or-famine" reliance on tournament winnings. They may play overseas or have other sources of income like endorsements. We offer skilled negotiation or litigation to establish a regular but fair level of child support.

Our attorneys have years of experience and a deep understanding of Ohio custody and support laws. For a full exploration of your situation, contact our Westerville office at 866-829-0717 or contact us online.