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Parenting – Not Married, But Still Tied Together

Fifty years ago, fewer than 10% of babies born in the United States were born out of wedlock. Today, that figure is over 40%. While these parents do not have marital obligations to each other, they will – of necessity – have a continuing relationship with each other for many years to come because of their child.

Welcome to Parenting.

I often receive calls for legal assistance when unmarried couples break up, one parent wants to relocate, or when the non-custodial parent is suddenly denied visitation with the child or has just received an administrative order to pay child support.

The law is useful for both parties in support and custody situations, as demonstrated by the following examples:

  • The custodial parent can get an administrative order of child support against the non-custodial parent through the state child support offices. A lawyer is generally not needed, so this is a cost-effective way of getting child support ordered, and
  • The non-custodial parent can file what is known as a paternity case, where the court first confirms the identity of the biological parents, and then makes orders granting a parent regularly scheduled, enforceable parenting time. Attorneys generally become involved in these cases.

Administrative orders of child support merely order financial support; they do not include provisions as to parenting or visitation. The non-custodial parent must file a separate action in state court if he or she wants enforceable parenting time, which typically includes weekly contact, holidays, summers, etc.

Filing a paternity action in court is the way to get enforceable parenting time for mothers and fathers who never married but who nonetheless want a parenting relationship with a child who is not in their custody.

Richard Ralls of Ralls Law Firm can assist you in determining whether you can enforce grandparent rights. Call us at 913 236 7260 or 816 421 4222. Licensed in Kansas and Missouri.