If I am Not Married, Can I Still Get Child Custody and Child Support?

If I am Not Married, Can I Still Get Bergen County Child Custody and Child Support?Though most of us may have been raised in a “traditional” family, these days many parents are deciding to remain unmarried but still raising their children together.  Much like in the case of divorce, in order to have a smooth relationship it is best for both parents to come to an agreement about such important issues as child custody, child support, parenting time and visitation.

While child support and child custody will always play key roles in any divorce involving the parents of children, what happens when unmarried parents end their relationship, or live in separate households and wish to obtain child custody, child support, or both for their children? These are serious questions that should be addressed with knowledge and experience. To be sure that your interest now and in the future are upheld and that your children are in the best possible situation it is best to consult a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney.

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our partners are not just lawyers, we are parents. When representing you through your child custody negotiations, we operate the way that we would want for ourselves and our loved ones; providing guidance, support, and a solid commitment to your child’s best interests. Our founding partners are part of the 2% of the active lawyers in New Jersey to receive NJ Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law certifications, and we have the experience and skill to handle the most complicated child custody negotiations.

Paramus NJ Paternity Lawyers

Legal paternity must first be established before an unmarried parent can pursue parental rights to custody, visitation, or child support. Paternity of a child is automatically assigned to the husband in a marriage as long as the child is born during the marriage, or a maximum of 300 days after the marriage ends or the death of the father.
In the case of parents who remain unmarried, extra steps must be taken in order for a father to be legally recognized as the father of a child. Specifically, paternity can be granted to an unmarried father by:
  • acknowledgement by the father of his paternity in writing to the New Jersey State Registrar
  • adding the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate by the mother

If neither of these occur, one of the parents will need to file a paternity case to establish the legal parenthood of an unmarried adult. Most paternity cases will then be decided through DNA testing.

Unmarried Parent Child Custody Lawyers Fort Lee NJ

Each parent is given equal standing and consideration when reaching any child custody decision in New Jersey. New Jersey family courts hold the belief that it is important for children to develop a strong a relationship with each of their parents as possible after a divorce, or following the ending of a non-marital relationship.
Moreover, all child custody and visitation matters are decided based on what is in the best interests of the child or children involved according to the court. However, parents can also create their own custody and visitation agreement outside of the courts, although it is recommended that this still be done with the help of an attorney with experience and strong negotiation skills.  It is important to remember that such an agreement will only be considered legal if a family court judge finds that this agreement does in fact account for the child’s best interests.

Child Support for Unmarried Parents in Bergen County

Parents are always legally required to financially support their children, whether they have been married to the child’s other parent or not. When parents have different income levels or if one parent bears the majority of the financial costs of child care, a family law court requires that the other parent pay child support.

The court decides on the amount of child support based on a several factors, including:

  • income of each parent
  • the amount each parent spends on housing, health care and other necessary expenses
  • cost of raising the child, including medical bills and school tuition

Courts can modify a child support order if the child’s needs change or the parent’s income. A parent with custody can sue the other parent for court-ordered child support when a parent refuses to pay child support voluntarily. This can result in criminal prosecution of the “deadbeat” parent..

Contact Our Hackensack Non-Marital Custody and Support Attorneys Today

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience handling child custody, child visitation, child support as well as child support modification matters of all kinds across Ridgewood, Fort Lee, Teaneck, Hackensack, and the greater Bergen County area.

By practicing exclusively on divorce and family law, our attorneys can focus on the issues that are most important to you and your family, and provide you with the experienced, effective and compassionate legal service you deserve when it comes to your parental, financial and legal future.

To speak with our firm today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your child support agreement, child support modification, or Cost of Living Adjustment, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.


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