New Jersey offers the same custody rights to unmarried parents as those for married parents. Issues related to child custody, child support, and visitation will all be handled according to the same standards as they would be for married parents and those seeking a divorce. Often, there are special circumstances that can arise when seeking to arrange for these rights. For example, a father may be denied visitation rights to his child, a mother may seek child support, or there may be a desire to change the current custody arrangement. Engaging a family law attorney with experience in Unmarried Parental rights is essential in obtaining the best possible outcome pending your unique situation.

DETERMINING PATERNITY FOR UNMARRIED PARENTS

If a child is born to unmarried parents, paternity must be established in order to get the rights available to both parents. In New Jersey, paternity issues are resolved in a non-discussion court through one of two methods. The first is where a man acknowledges he is the father of the child, and the court will enter a consent order establishing paternity. The second method is when a man denies that he is the father, leading the court to order a blood test to prove paternity. If he chooses, a father may go to court and request a DNA in order to settle paternity, whether or not the mother consents. Determining paternity may also allow a child to benefit from a father’s health insurance, obtain child support, protect a child’s rights to their father’s estate should he die, and even offer insight into their fathers medical history.

CHILD SUPPORT ISSUES

Regardless of which parent retains custody in an unmarried relationship, it is possible child support payments to contribute to the child’s care. The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are used by the court to determine how much support should be paid. They are based on fixed costs, such as housing, and variable costs, for example food and transportation. Biological parents are required to support a child until the child is emancipated. An often over looked aspect of child support is that a father, with custody, may request child support from the mother.