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Child custody issues for unmarried parents

The birth of a child to a married Bexar couple rarely raises questions about who may legitimately claim custody of the newborn. Though unique and personal situations may arise, many custody and visitation issues pop up when new parents are not married or do not execute a formal document that acknowledges that the man is the biological father of the child. If a mother does not acknowledge the father of her child when the child is born it can be difficult for that man to later enforce his child custody and visitation rights.

Often a father must undergo paternity testing to prove that he has a legal right to custody and visitation with a child. Paternity testing can use blood or, more accurately, DNA analyses to show that a man is the biological parent of a youth. Without legal acknowledgement of his fatherhood or a paternity test to prove it a court may not grant a man any legal rights to a child.

Once a father can prove he has a legitimate claim to a child he may begin his petition to seek custody of or visitation time with his offspring. A court will defer to the best interests of the child when deciding such matters, and a father may be granted physical custody of his child, legal custody of his child or either or both in a sole or shared arrangement with the child's mother.

Unmarried parents can generally create positive environments in which their children may thrive. Though they are not always easy to create, agreements regarding the child custody, visitation and support of kids may be created by unmarried parents. These agreements can balance the needs of the children with the parents' desire to be present for them. Attorneys who practice family law can work with unmarried parents to achieve those important goals.

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Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC
310 South St. Mary's Street
Suite 2500
San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: 210-272-7034
Fax: 210-308-5669
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