Child Custody for Unmarried Couples

Child Custody for Unmarried Couples Lawyer Scottsdale, Arizona

Phoenix Child Custody Lawyers Helping Unmarried Parents

Dealing with child custody issues after divorce is challenging enough. However, when parents are not married, problems arising from the custody of a child can become even more difficult. Technically, whether the parents are married is irrelevant. However, there is one huge difference between child custody determinations for married or formerly married parents and unmarried parents: The child’s mother has sole legal custody until paternity is established. This means that unmarried mothers can make all decisions regarding the child without input from the father. However, it also means that a mother cannot seek child support from an unmarried father until paternity has been determined by the court.

Navigating problems like these in Arizona usually requires the assistance of a tested Phoenix child custody attorney. Unmarried couples in the area often turn to the Law Office of Karen Schoenau for help. Our law firm, headed by an attorney with more than two decades of experience, is a full-service family law firm providing child custody assistance to all types of parents, including those who were never married. Contact our offices today to schedule a free consultation for your child custody claim.

Determining Paternity in Arizona: A Requirement for Unmarried Parent Custody

Courts in Arizona can establish paternity in two ways. “Presumed paternity” means that the father or both parents acknowledge paternity by:

  • Having both sign the child’s birth certificate
  • Mother and father were married within 10 months preceding the child’s birth
  • Having the father voluntarily take a paternity test that reveals a 95%+ probability of being the biological parent
  • Having both affirm paternity in a witnessed or notarized statement

The other approach to determining paternity is called “court-ordered paternity.” Either parent, the courts and other entities can request a DNA paternity test. These other entities include:

  • Interested public agencies
  • The state of Arizona
  • Guardians or conservators

If the father fails to submit to a required DNA test, the court may presume paternity for the purposes of awarding child support. Our law firm represents mothers and fathers in all aspects of cases involving paternity in Arizona.

Determining Child Custody for Unmarried Arizona Parents

Once the court has determined paternity, unwed parents have the same rights as married or formerly married parents. Each can petition the court for parenting time and involvement in legal decision-making for the child. The court uses the same standard to make such determinations as it uses with married parents: the best interests of the child. The court will award custody and parenting time based on this standard. As with court-awarded custody and parenting time for married parents, awards of custody can be modified by the court as circumstances change in the lives of the child or parents.

Contact Our Phoenix and Scottsdale Unmarried Parent Custody Lawyer

If you are an unmarried parent looking for representation in a child custody matter, you want an experienced family law lawyer in Arizona. They will know how to advocate for you on your behalf, and give you the representation in court that you deserve. Do not waste time and lose out on opportunities to see your child. Contact the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau today if you are an unmarried parent with child custody issues. Phoenix family attorney Karen Schoenau can help you with issues related to unmarried child custody in Arizona. Karen Schoenau has represented parents in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County and Gila County.