What Are the Legal Rights of Families in Custody Disputes?


Quick Answer

Biological parents have the legal right to seek custody of their children as well as visitation rights in the event that the other parent gets custody. This right applies irrespective of the marital status of the parents at the time of the child’s birth explains FindLaw.

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Full Answer

For unmarried couples, access to custody and visitation rights may only be granted to the father after he has been legally established as the biological father through a paternity test. Cases of disputed paternity can be resolved through a legal process that may include a DNA test, states FindLaw.

In California, unmarried mothers have an automatic legal right to custody once the child is born. Such mothers do not need to undertake any form of legal action so as to declare her custodial rights. In the absence of legal intervention, an unmarried mother gets to decide the level of contact between the child and his or her father, reports Legal Zoom. Access to child support is only granted to an unwed mother after paternity tests confirm the identity of the child’s father. The duty of caring for children is not limited to one parent, and courts should not discriminate under the pretext of gender.

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