Family law legal disputes are not reserved exclusively for married couples alone. In fact, many unmarried couples in Ohio and elsewhere face complex family law legal matters such as tough child custody battles. From negotiating physical and legal custody to visitation rights and child support, child custody is just as complex an issue for an unmarried couple as it is for a married couples going through a divorce.
When unmarried couples have children, one parent is typically the custodial parent. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lives most of the time. Since the custodial parent is considered the primary caregiver, the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent child support, even if there is shared parenting. Whether parents live in New York or Ohio, the failure to pay child support is a serious offense.
When most people think about custody and child support issues it usually occurs in the context of divorce. However, custody issues can occur in other contexts as well, such as between unmarried couples. In fact, it is now becoming increasingly common for child custody battles to involve unmarried couples.
When it comes to custody disputes, marriage isn't everything. In many cases, unmarried couples are able to develop custody arrangements that respect both parties, and the courts are generally willing to approve these arrangements. The rules change, however, when the person seeking to enforce his or her custody rights is not the biological parent of the child.
A Franklin County magistrate recently ruled that an Ohio mother is required to share custody of her 8-year-old daughter with her former partner. The mother has fought the efforts of her former girlfriend to share custody of the 8-year-old girl for several years. The woman, who is the biological mother of the child, told reporters she intends to appeal the ruling and seek sole custody of the girl.
Unwed couples can face unique legal challenges when they break up. When married partners divorce, the divorce case will resolve issues of property division, debt division, spousal support, child custody and child support. When an unmarried couple breaks up, there is no divorce decree to conclusively determine these issues, which can leave important issues hanging. This can be especially problematic when children are involved.