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What are my rights as an unwed mother

Brooklyn, NY |

I'm expecting and I want to know what my rights are regarding custody. I pan to allow the father to visit as much as he would like but the child will have my last name and I will not out his name on the birth certificate

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Both the mother and father have equal rights with respect to custody unless and until there is an agreement or court order delineating who has custody and who has parenting time when. If the father's name is not on the birth certificate he can still establish paternity by signing an acknowledgment of paternity or filing in court for paternity and taking a DNA test

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Posted

But what are my rights as a single mother

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Posted

Since we are not married

Rachel S. Silberstein

Rachel S. Silberstein

Posted

The same as if you were married. The standard for determining custody is best interests of the child, regardless of whether you are married or not. Since you are not married there is no presumption about the baby's paternity, but as stated above, there are ways for the father to establish paternity

Posted

Agree with Ms. Silberstein with one addition: the father should submit forms to the "putative father registry" which is maintained by the State of New York to secure his parental rights. I'm attaching their web brochure which discusses the forms he needs to submit and how the program works. Please give the father this brochure or link to the website.

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But what are my rights as a single mother

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

Both parents have rights to reasonable access to the child. It's typical if both parents want it to have joint legal custody which is decision making over important decisions and for one parent to have primary physical custody and for the other to have visitation. Sometimes there can be joint physical custody. The custodial parent also has rights to child support payments. Both parents have the right to seek or modify custody or support in Family Court until the child is 18 (custody) or 21 (support). You might also have the right to a lawyer for you, an independent attorney for the child, or mediation services for the parents.

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

And as Ms. Tebano just correctly said, either or both parents has to go and petition the Family Court to define and establish these rights.

Posted

You and the child's father have the same custodial rights regardless of whether the two of you were married or if the father's name is on the birth certificate. Without a court order or agreement, you will not be able to dictate a parenting schedulle for the child. You should have an order or agreement in place that you can enforce and also receive child support.

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What should that agreement consist of

Maria C. Tebano

Maria C. Tebano

Posted

Who has primary physical custody of the child, a parenting schedule for the father, holiday schedule, vacation schedule, indication as to sole versus joint custody, etc. Define your rights and his, otherwise, he has equal access to the child. Meaning that if the child is in school or day care, he doesn't need your consent to retrieve the child and vice versa.

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