Legal Rights and Obligations of Unmarried Parents
Parents who have children "out of wedlock" — as the old
saying goes — have many legal rights and obligations with regard
to their children. This is true for both mothers and fathers. Fathering
or mothering a child creates specific parental rights, and formal legal
action is sometimes required in order to enforce them.
Custodial Parents have the right to receive
child support payments from the child's Non Custodial Parent.
- Non-Custodial Parents have the right to establish a regular visitation
schedule with the child. Custodial Parents have the obligation to comply
with the visitation schedule, unless doing so would endanger the child.
Each Parent has the right to request shared or primary
custody of the child.
A Paternity Action Is Often the First Step
Except in cases where the child's father has openly acknowledged the
child as his own by signing an acknowledgement of paternity (or affidavit
of parentage) form, a paternity action is the first step for either the
mother or father to exercise their parental rights.
Either a mother or father may bring or defend a paternity action. If there
is doubt about parentage, a mother must bring a paternity action as the
first step of demanding child support payments from the child's father.
The father may either demand or be required to take a paternity test,
which is a noninvasive DNA test.
A father may bring a paternity action either to establish fatherhood or
to attempt to disestablish his status as the legal parent by proving he
is not the child's biological father.
Get Legal Help With Paternity Actions
The Law Offices of Lloyd A. Malech offers a complete range of legal services
to help unmarried parents collect child support, establish a visitation
schedule and to challenge paternity. Our office provides one-on-one access
to an experienced family law attorney, at reasonable rates.
Make an appointment to talk to our lawyer about your paternity questions.
Call 301.913.9119 or 202.441.2107, or use our
online e-mail form. From our office in Bethesda, we serve clients throughout Maryland and
the greater Washington, DC metro area.