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How should unmarried parents handle child custody arrangements?

Child custody is one of the most complicated aspects of a divorce, but it can be equally complex for parents who are unmarried and choose to go their separate ways. To resolve child custody, visitation and support matters, it is beneficial for an Ohio parent to seek the help of a family law lawyer. Parents who were not married when their children were born have rights that deserve protection as they seek a resolution to a custody dispute. 

An unmarried parent must consider certain legal issues, including custody rights, visitation schedules and child support. Even between two parents who agree to terms amicably, it is in the best interests of both the parent and the children to have any agreement made legally binding. Unmarried parents may face a dispute regarding paternity which will, in turn, affect support and custody. Without a declaration of paternity, an unmarried father has no rights in the eyes of the law.

If a child is born to parents who are unmarried, it is presumed that the mother will be the primary custodian. Once paternity is established, the father will have parental rights that must be recognized and may be required to pay child support. When paternity is disputed, an order may be sought to legally identify the biological father. 

In Ohio, any dispute between unmarried parents will be heard in juvenile court. It is in the best interests of a parent seeking to establish a child custody arrangement or a child support order to seek the assistance of an experienced family law lawyer. Every parent has the right to a full understanding of their legal options by seeking a complete case evaluation.

Source:, "Child Custody / Visitation", Accessed on Oct. 19, 2015

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