If you are an unwed mother, then you automatically have the right to your children unless the father of the child chooses to establish paternity. Until this legal action is taken, the only rightful caretaker and custodian of the child is the mother. If a father does choose to lay claim to a child, he will need to take a paternity test that will confirm whether or not he is truly the father of the child that is being considered.
It is important that women designate the father of their child early on if they are worried that there may be a custody battle over the child. In some cases, it may be important to hire a local family attorney to help protect your rights to keep your child against those of the child's father. Some courts may claim that a mother only has initial custody, but not permanent custody of her child if the father can be identified. In other states, if the father's name is not on the baby's birth certificate, than that father cannot claim custody without a battle, and the mother will automatically be awarded with sole custody of the child.
The difference between sole custody and initial custody is significant. While custody battles can happen regardless of what kind of custody the mother has, oftentimes initial custody is much easier to reverse. In some jurisdictions, there is not presumption of custody based on whether or not a father was on the birth certificate. In these cases, parents may have automatic joint custody even if they aren't legally married. Whenever you run into a child custody complication, hire a Los Angeles family attorney to guide you through the legal implications. Claery & Hammond is a firm of caring and kind attorneys that want to help you today!