The Rights of Unmarried Parents
When parents who are unmarried have a child, the question of parentage does not usually become a legal matter unless a dispute occurs which is related to the child. This could be linked to child support, visitation issues or child custody. The Law Office of David A. Martin & Associates, here in Sacramento, has a clear understanding of the issues that unmarried parents face when it comes to their children.
Establishing parents status in California
The first action that has to be taken to do with a child is to make sure who the actual parents are of any child under Californian law, in what is referred to as a Uniform Parentage Action. It is through this that the real parents have to be confirmed before any orders in relation to a child, who is classified as a minor, can be undertaken by a Sacramento Court.
In California, there are equal rights for both mothers and fathers. Any decision made by the court, favors the parent that fits the required qualifications as determined by facts dealing with parenting issues. All Californian custody laws are included in the Californian Family Code.
The court always prefers the two parents to come to their own agreement when settling any issues of custody. In the situation when parents cannot come to an agreement, the court then makes a decision for them. The court is unable to give any preferential treatment when it comes to gender. It has to put the child’s interest first according to criteria laid out in statute 3011.
The final decision
Courts in California give preference in parenting of the child to the parent who will promote the intellectual, emotional and physical well-being of the child. Another important issue is which parent is most likely to promote and allow the most frequent visitation for the parent that does not have custody.
Types of custody
Custody comes in four forms:
- Legal custody – the parent who comes to decisions to do with medical matters and schooling
- Physical custody-the parent who the child will be living with
- Sole custody – when the parent has the responsibility for both legal and physical custody
- Joint custody – can vary as it could be legal custody that is shared but one parent has physical custody or the two parents share the physical and legal custody or one parent may take the responsibility for legal custody and both of the parents contribute to physical custody.
Arranging a Custody Order
The parents are able to present to a Californian court a custody arrangement whereby the two parents divide up the time the child spends with them. As long as they both agree to this the court is then responsible for its implementation.
Selecting a Lawyer
Custody issues are often sensitive and emotional affairs, so finding a suitable lawyer who can help to resolve your position with sensitivity and compassion and can offer a cost effective solution is the best thing to do.