Unmarried Custody Cases Is On the Rise

The number of children born to unwed parents continues to rise. Today it is quite common for a child to be born to a mother and father who are not married. Although the parents are not married, they are both still expected to provide for their child until the child is at least 18 years of age. Unmarried custody cases can be complex and both parties may need the help of an experienced family law attorney to guide them through the legal aspects of the situation.

Benefits of Paternity

Children deserve to know the identities of their biological parents. Although one parent may be reluctant to give up some of the control over the child, the Court generally considers it to be in the child’s best interest to have both parents in his or her life. There are benefits to all parties involved when paternity is determined. The child is afforded support to ensure that his needs are taken care of. Children may have parenting time with their non-custodial parent and may be able to know both sets of grandparents. There are also some responsibilities that come along with paternity.


Both parents must provide support to their children. Generally, the non-custodial parent is required to pay child support although even a parent with equal parenting time may owe support to the other, particularly if they earn much more income than the other parent. This is money necessary for the well-being of the child. Additionally, parents must ensure that the child is covered under a health care plan. A father may usually add a child to his insurance coverage if he is deemed the legal father or guardian. Each parent is responsible for providing his portion of support to his child until the child is at least 18 years of age.

How to Prove Paternity

Paternity may be proven voluntarily or involuntarily. Voluntary paternity occurs when both parents are in agreement as to the child’s father and both consent to the father being legally established as the parent. Involuntary paternity happens when parents do not agree as to the father of the child. In these instances, paternity must be proven through genetic testing. Testing must be done in accordance with the current legal requirements of the court. Therefore, it is best to speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney before proceeding.

Issues Regarding Child Custody

There are many issues that need to be resolved in regards to child custody. Once paternity is established, custody can be decided. Custody is determined through a variety of factors. Most importantly, the decision is made in the best interest of the child. Other decisions must also be made that include a visitation schedule. The parents must share the time spent with their child, especially during vacations and holidays. These matters can become complex. If the couple is unable to reach an agreement, the court will likely make the final decisions. It is usually best to try to resolve such matters, which can be more easily accomplished with help from a family law attorney. When you need help with child custody concerns, contact the legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Unmarried Custody Cases, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Sheri D. Shepard at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.