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If a father is not married to the mother of a child, how does he get custody rights?

A paternity action filed in the Circuit Courts. A lot of people confuse this with the administrative process. Sometimes, when the mother is not married to the father, she can have him paying into child support for the child but the father does not have any enforceable custody rights. Additionally, it being dealt with this way may not only deprive a father of custody rights, but also has a very good chance of making the child support too high. Why? Because there are factors that administrative child support is not equipped to take into account as well as a Circuit Court might. One of these is the amount of time that a noncustodial parent gets credited for caring for the child on the form that calculates child support. The more that is credited, the less child support will have to be paid.

At this point, you might be wondering and worrying if you can file in the Circuit Courts if an administrative action has already begun. The answer is yes, you can, and if you want custody rights that are enforceable through the courts and law enforcement, you have to do so. You will want to consult an attorney on a Paternity case. She or he can help you understand the documents you need to file. A next friend will need to be appointed for the children. This is almost always the mother. While there are some similarities between custody in a dissolution and custody in a paternity, the initial filing and petitioning will be different in very distinct ways. You will still need to create a parenting plan however and this is the heart of the case. This plan will layout when and how you spend time with your child. It will also dictate how decisions on the child's behalf will be madeā€”for instance doctor visits, extracurricular activities, and where they attend school.

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