Unmarried parents can often benefit from having clear child custody arrangements.
You can help your family avoid conflict and pursue an agreement that prioritizes your children’s needs. Even if you have a friendly relationship with your children’s other parent, you should consider the benefits of establishing custody.
Paternity and custody
Mothers automatically have custody of their children after giving birth. However, fathers need to establish paternity before they can pursue custody. Often unmarried fathers can sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. However, in some cases, unmarried parents must involve the court to resolve paternity issues. Without establishing paternity, fathers who are not married cannot obtain legal or physical custody of their children.
Multiple custody arrangements work for different families. In Connecticut, the law differentiates between physical and legal custody. Many parents have joint legal custody, which means both individuals have a say in their children’s lives. When important decisions occur regarding education, religion or healthcare, you and your co-parent can both have input.
You can also share physical custody, which means your children spend significant amounts of time at both houses. It is also possible for one parent to have physical custody while the other parent has visitation rights. Often, noncustodial parents pay child support to help cover childcare expenses. Having a child custody agreement can help clarify important issues, including childcare arrangements, legal custody and child support.
Although there is no requirement for unmarried parents to create legal child custody arrangements in Connecticut, there are many benefits. Unmarried fathers can stay involved in their children’s lives by pursuing joint custody or visitation. Furthermore, families can explore child support options once they establish custody.