Paternity Rights & Responsibilities of Unmarried Parents

Parents who are not married have legal issues which are different than those parents who are married. Defining parents rights and responsibilities in those circumstances requires expertise in that area. It is an entirely different legal process. That being said, parents who are not married have less legal protection than those who are, and obtaining a legal document which states each parties rights and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, can be very important to both parents.

Sometimes paternity rights and responsibilities of unmarried parents can be accomplished through one of the alternative dispute resolution processes; namely, mediation or collaborative law. Mediation can be utilized if both parties are willing to participate in mediation to address the issues. In that process, the parties may choose to each have counsel, or to proceed with out counsel. The collaborative process can be used when both parties have attorneys who are experienced in the collaborative process, and the parties are willing to use that process to resolve their issues. These processes can be used even if the issues are difficult and emotional, but the parties are willing to work to resolve those issues.

On the other hand, there are situations where either one of the parties is not willing to participate in mediation or the collaborative process, and insists on litigation. In that case, zealous and experienced representation is important. A good attorney can make a huge difference in those cases.

Whenever possible, children are entitled to have both parents as part of their lives. This generally means having both parents spending time with the child, and both parents financially supporting the child. I can help you obtain the necessary documentation detailing those paternity rights and responsibilities, and select the appropriate process to accomplish that in your case. That process may be litigation, mediation, or collaborative law. I will discuss all those options with you.