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Child custody cases involving unmarried parents

Many parents in Tennessee who have never been married have child custody issues to resolve. Because child custody cases involving unmarried parents are not divorce cases, other family law issues like spousal support and property division will not come into play. Unmarried parents may reach a custody agreement outside of court, or a family court judge may make a child custody ruling.

When a child is born to unmarried parents, the mother is usually awarded full physical custody of her child by default. The father will have to take action to establish paternity and assert his custodial rights. Unless the mother is found to be an unfit parent, it is usually difficult for an unmarried father to pursue full child custody. The father may petition the court for joint custody or visitation rights after he has proven that he is the child's father.

Child custody cases involving unmarried parents are pretty much the same as child custody cases that arise after a divorce. If the matter cannot be resolved in out-of-court negotiations, a family court judge will make a ruling after considering what arrangement would be in the best interest of the child. The primary factor that the court will consider is the question of which parent acts as the primary caregiver.

An unmarried parent who is involved in a child custody dispute may want to have representation from a family law attorney. Decisions in family court are often made quickly, and an attorney may help make sure that the judge has access to all of the pertinent information in the case. If an unmarried parent was previously denied custodial rights in family court, a lawyer may help the parent to appeal the decision.

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Stanley A. Kweller, Attorney at Law
214 Second Avenue North, Suite 103
Nashville, TN 37201

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Phone: 615-208-9691
TF: 866-568-5306
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