What Unmarried Couples Need To Know About Child Custody

Over the years, there has been a significant increase in unmarried couples who have sired children together. However, with single parenthood on the rise, more and more fathers are trying to challenge the view that the mother is the best guardian for the child after the couple has gone their separate ways. As such, there are now more cases of unmarried couples seeking to get custody of children in court just as a divorced couple would. Here are some of the things that unmarried couples need to know about child custody.

What is the emphasis of child custody law in Australia?

When it comes to child custody, it is not about hiring a family lawyer to try to ensure the other parent does not have access to the child. Child custody laws lay their emphasis on the wellbeing of the child in question. As such, it will steer towards the interests of the child, rather than the interests of the parents that are trying to gain custodial responsibility. It should be noted though that the courts also put into consideration that shared responsible parenting would be for the overall benefit of the child in the long-term. Therefore, the courts would also be looking to find an amicable middle ground that would work to involving both parents in the upbringing of the child. This is as long as one parent is not posing any danger to the welfare of the child.

Are custody procedures different for unmarried couples?

Since child custody cases will focus on ensuring the child's welfare is upheld, there are no specific rights that are granted to married couples and unmarried couples. Generally, the custody proceeding will tend to be the same as the courts are focusing on the child's interests. When it comes to the custody hearings, there will be two types. The first is the interim hearing. Here is where the court will assess sworn statements for character witnesses, affidavits and a range of other legal submissions that each parent has filed with their family lawyer. After the interim hearing, a final hearing is held by the court to determine what type of custody will be granted and to whom. It should be noted though that this final hearing could take a significant time to come about so in the meantime, the court may grant temporary custody based on the findings of the interim hearing.

It should be noted that unmarried fathers tend to have the bigger burden of proving their involvement with the child when seeking custody. If you are an unmarried father, you would have to have proof of being supportive financially and regular interaction with the child.

For more information, contact Marino Law or a similar firm.