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Unmarried Couples & Child Custody Arrangements

Salem Child Custody Lawyers Representing Unwed Parents

Child custody cases always have the potential to become complicated, even when both spouses agree on the core issues and have been married for years. When you and your partner are not married, however, any child custody decisions automatically gain another layer of complexity.

At Landerholm Family Law, our experienced divorce lawyers can help you with the dissolution of an unwed relationship, and we’re well-acquainted with the processes required to determine child custody in these cases. From helping you understand your rights as unmarried parents to negotiating for a more positive custody and visitation schedule, we’ll be by your side every step of the way.

Do you have questions about how your unmarried status will impact child custody? Call (888) 981-9511 or message us online today.

Establishing Paternity for Unwed Couples

Although unwed couples often experience more legal difficulties when dissolving their relationships, the child custody laws in Oregon do apply to both unmarried and married couples equally. This is because the child still has the right to shared parenting, regardless of the parents’ marital status (or lack thereof). That means that before you can receive a custody ruling, you will need to establish paternity first.

Because unmarried mothers already have clear medical evidence of the birthing process, there’s no need for the court to establish an unmarried mother’s right to visit, house, and care for her child. However, paternity can be more uncertain, which is why the court must legally establish the father’s rights in the case of unmarried parents.

Here are the two major ways you can establish paternity for child custody:

  1. Both parents must agree to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form. This is typically done at the hospital right after birth, but it can also happen at any point after birth.
  2. If you can’t sign a paternity form, you will need to establish paternity by means of DNA testing. Mothers can also fill out an Affidavit in Support of Establishing Paternity, regardless of whether the father voluntarily agrees.

How We Can Help with Child Custody

Once paternity has been established, the child custody proceedings will closely resemble those for married parents. It can take a while for a couple, unmarried or otherwise, to arrive at an equitable arrangement for visitation and custody rights — and even then, it may not be possible to reach an amicable decision on your own. If a judge determines the final outcome, they will consider the best interests of the child, along with many other factors.

While it can be daunting to face complex negotiations, paternity testing, and court hearings, you don’t have to do this alone. Our team at Landerholm Family Law is committed to you and your family, and we’ll do everything in our power to bring about a positive, win-win solution.

Contact (888) 981-9511 to learn more about how we can help Salem unwed couples deal with an impending dissolution.

About Our Team Portland, Vancouver, & Salem Family Law Firm

At our family law firm, we understand the importance of taking an individualized approach to working with clients. Our goal is to give our clients stability and confidence during a difficult time of their lives. From start to finish, we can provide the personalized counsel you deserve.

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