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How Do I Establish Child Custody If I Was Never Married to the Other Parent?

June 29, 2020

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 36.4 percent of kids in Kansas are born to unmarried mothers. Never having been married to your child’s other parent can create some legal legwork if you plan to pursue child custody or visitation rights. If you live in Kansas and you are trying to establish a child custody arrangement but were never married to the other parent, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced Kansas child custody attorney for proper guidance.

For more than 20 years, I have been providing outstanding legal services and strong representation in divorce, paternity, and child custody-related matters. As a knowledgeable family law attorney, I will help you understand everything concerning child custody and visitation rights for unmarried fathers in Kansas. I can provide you with detailed guidance and the advocacy you need to establish paternity.

Rundberg Law, LLC, is proud to serve clients throughout Overland Park and the surrounding communities of Johnson County, Kansas.

Understanding Child Custody Rights for Unmarried Parents

In Kansas, when a child is born to an unwed mother, the mother has sole custodianship. However, as the biological father, you have the right to seek child custody or visitation. As with all child custody decisions, the court will seek to promote the best interest of the child. In most cases, the court presumes that the child will benefit from both parent's involvement.

Establishing Paternity

For fathers not married to their child’s mother, establishing paternity as the child's legal and biological father is the first step when wanting to exercise your rights. This generally involves signing and filing an acknowledgment of paternity with the state court. Establishing paternity in Kansas for unmarried fathers is controlled by Kansas Statutes 23-2207. In disputed cases, DNA testing may be required to confirm paternity.

A paternity suit may be brought forward when a father is trying to establish paternity. Any individual acting on the child's behalf can file a petition with the court to establish paternity before the child turns 21 years of age. Steps to petition the court include:

  • Filling out court forms

  • Having the forms reviewed by your attorney

  • Making duplicate copies

  • Filing your forms with the court clerk

  • Serving your papers on the other parent

Other Issues

After establishing paternity, there may be other issues that both parents still need to agree upon before child custody is established. These include:

  • Deciding what school the child will attend

  • Choosing a last name for the child

  • Deciding who will claim the child as a dependent on taxes

Additional issues that may arise are the desire for a step-parent to be able to adopt the child and the possibility that the biological parents live in different states.

In case the parties are unable to agree on a parenting arrangement or sort out any additional issues, the court can be petitioned for assistance. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help you understand the process and provide the guidance you need.

How a Child Custody Attorney Can Help

When a child is born out of wedlock, establishing paternity can be complicated. Filing an acknowledgment of paternity with the court and negotiating a parenting agreement can make the process difficult and exhausting. Fortunately, an experienced Kansas divorce attorney can provide you with the comprehensive guidance you need.

As your legal counsel, I will work with all parties involved to help negotiate a fair parenting agreement, including custody and visitation periods, and advise you of your options when making crucial decisions concerning your child's future and well-being. I can help you file a paternity action with the Kansas court and provide you with the detailed legal guidance and advocacy you need during this period.

Experienced Custody Attorney in Overland Park, Kansas

If you are trying to establish a child custody arrangement but you were never married to your child’s other parent, call Rundberg Law, LLC, today to schedule a free consultation. I will help you understand all you need to know about Kansas child custody rights for unmarried fathers and provide the detailed legal guidance you need. Based in Overland Park, my law firm is proud to serve clients throughout the surrounding communities of Johnson County, Kansas.