Unwed Relationships: What to Do When You’re Expecting

Love is in the air. This Blog is written for February and Valentine’s Day, the celebration of romance and couplehood that we all know so well. For many couples, this Valentine’s Day will look different than many have before. Couples may be spending it simply in their living room, cooking dinner, and watching a movie. Still, there are some eternal issues, which is why we have chosen February to discuss unwed relationships. What happens when you are dating someone and then, all of a sudden, the two of you are expecting a child?

Surprise! There is a trope of unwed parents being poor teenage girls abandoned by their boyfriends, but the truth of the matter is the vast majority of unwed parents are adults in a committed relationship. Perhaps they had decided against marriage, or perhaps they just hadn’t gotten to that point yet. For whatever reason, they are not married and now having a child together. From a legal perspective, what considerations should they have?

Getting married is always an option, of course. Whether it is a shotgun wedding or one just happening earlier than expected, marriage can make some legal questions more clean-cut and provide some tax benefits. Still, if you hadn’t gotten married before, this probably will not change your mind. Marriage is not necessary to claim legal benefits, it just makes things easier.

If you are currently living together, child custody should not be an issue. As long as you are the biological parents of your child and intend to raise it together, you will face no legal opposition. If you are the unwed father of a child with a mother you are no longer in a relationship with – and you want custody – contact an attorney immediately to determine your next steps. Each case is unique for this situation, and time is of the essence.

If you are living together, you still want the father to establish his paternity of the child. The first step to this is to list him on the Birth Certificate. Birth Certificates are legally binding documents and reserved exclusively for biological parents, not for who will be raising the child. In most situations, you will need to go further and sign a Recognition of Parentage. Although the form’s name varies from state to state, this document acknowledges both parties as the biological parents of a child and helps protect the father’s right to custody and responsibility of support.

We know that every situation is different, which is why we want to hear from you directly. If you are in an unwed relationship and expecting a child, you’ll want to take certain legal actions to establish your parentage and prepare for the future. Contact The Grey Legal Group today to talk to someone who can help. We know that the law is not black and white. We are here for you.

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The Grey Legal Group, APC

At The Grey Legal Group, we take pride in getting to know our clients personally. Whether you’re going through a divorce, child custody issues, or problems enforcing divorce orders, you can feel confident in our knowledgeable, hands-on approach.

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