Aaron & Aaron, Attorneys at Law
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How is custody decided between unmarried parents?

Families in South Carolina come in all manner of configurations. It is not at all unusual for a child to live with only one of his or her parents. Equally, in many families parents do not choose to get married. However, what effect does this have on child custody if these parents do not stay together?

In many cases, an unwed father does not automatically gain custody. In fact, within the statutes of some states, it is a requirement sole physical custody be awarded to the mother in such cases. However the father can usually take action to gain some rights of his own regarding visitation and custody.

If unmarried parents are able to reach an amicable decision over the custody of their children, the matter may not need to go to court at all. However, if there is a dispute, the issue will need to be resolved by a judge. This is similar in many ways to the process through which divorcing parents go. However, it is often simpler as there are not so many other matters to sort out.

As this article on custody and visitation explains, an important factor in these court decisions is often which parent can be considered the primary caretaker of the child. This means that he or she has been responsible for most of the essential elements of caring for the child.

Settling custody matters alone can be daunting, so you may benefit from the advice of an attorney. He or she can advise you on the options available to you and may be able to help you secure a fair custody arrangement that benefits both you and your child.

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