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Which Parent is Granted Custody if the Couple is Not Married and There is No Court Order?

Another top ten question parents with custody issues ask. First of all, if there is a custody dispute and you don’t have a court order that sets forth your parenting time then law enforcement will want to look at the birth certificate. If Dad’s name is not on the birth certificate, then he has not asserted his paternity of the minor child and the child is going to be given to Mom.

However, if both parents’ names are on the birth certificate and there is no custody order then that creates a problem where either Mom or Dad need to file a custody action to establish a custody order. This may be a situation where law enforcement will not intervene in a custody dispute because there is no custody order to enforce.

What is the lesson? If you are unmarried but have a child together the best practice is to agree on or file for a custody order setting forth the parenting time each parent has. If you are an unmarried father, you have the right to assert your paternity and if your name is not on the child’s birth certificate you really need a custody order. Through the custody proceedings you also have the right to request a DNA test which the court will order before establishing a custody order.