Looking back, things did not go as planned. You had a great girlfriend, but neither of you was looking for a spouse. Then, unexpectedly, she becomes pregnant. While marriage still isn’t on the table, you both take your responsibilities seriously and do the best you can together. After all, you have a beautiful child. As the years pass, you watch them grow, feed, and dress, throw their first ball, and have their first day of school.
However, co-parenting has taken a toll on the relationship. You decide the best thing for your family is to end things amicably. Both of you figure out a great custody arrangement. Then, she meets someone. As it gets serious, she wants to take your child to meet his family on your days. Next, it’s trading days to accommodate his schedule. Soon, you find your time with your child is getting smaller and smaller.
What do you do?
The best thing you can do to protect your rights as a father is to establish paternity. Without it, custody of children to unwed couples automatically falls to the natural mother. That’s where the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch come in. As a father, you have a right to a fair and consistent visitation schedule. Your time shouldn’t be marginalized because the mother wants to change things constantly. If you need a paternity attorney in Westlake Village, California, call the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch today.
Child Custody in Westlake Village, California
Child custody of unwed parents can be challenging. There is no divorce, so a judge isn’t there to award child support or enforce a custody agreement. Parents are left to their own arrangements.
When an agreement cannot be reached or if one side feels disregarded, it is best to consult a family law attorney. The only way a father can assert any rights is by establishing paternity in the eyes of the law. From there, he can ask the court for a written parental agreement. A parental agreement states;
- Who pays child support and the amount?
- Custody (are you seeking joint custody? Sole custody? Sole and legal custody?)
- Parent time (do you split the week, arrange weekends, holidays?)
These are very crucial to creating a stable environment for the child. Keep an open mind and be flexible. Child support today may not be enough in a few years. Splitting the week may work now, but when a child reaches school age, will shuffling between houses cause complications with homework and projects? A family law attorney can help set up a plan that works now and help you when it needs to be adjusted in the future.
What Are the Steps to Establish Parentage?
According to the Judicial Branch of California, parental rights are established when;
- Both unmarried parents sign a declaration of parentage
- Your local child support agency can also help establish parental rights by bringing an action to do so
- Or, you may establish your rights through the courts by filling out, serving, and filing several court forms. This may include a trial before a judge.
Child custody can get very complicated. Every family is different and will require a unique parent plan. Make sure you have a family law attorney on your side to help guide you through the process. Call the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch today.
Call the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch for Your Westlake Village Family Law Needs
The dedicated attorneys at the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch understand the precarious situation unwed parents find themselves in. Life can get complicated when you are sharing the responsibility of raising a child. One or both of you may marry different partners and grow your family. One or both may wish to move. Every stage of life will need an amended parental agreement to ensure everyone’s rights are being respected. The most important thing is the stability and well-being of your child. When you need a family law attorney in Westlake Village, California, call the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling 818-237-4574.