When you are in a relationship with your child’s other parent, you may not feel it necessary to have child custody plans drawn up. However, whether you intend to remain unmarried or are simply not yet ready to commit to marriage, it is important that you take steps to protect yourself, your partner, and your children if your relationship falls apart.
In situations like these, you may be unsure of what types of details should be included, or where to begin. Schedule your no-risk consultation with an experienced Alabama child custody lawyer at Coumanis & York to get started. Call our office at (251) 260-3927 for a free consultation.
How Child Custody Agreements Work in Alabama
When a married couple has children in the state of Alabama, both parents have equal rights to the children. This includes both physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the residence at which the children primarily reside. Legal custody refers to the major decisions that need to be made regarding the child’s upbringing.
When many couples choose to divorce, both parents have physical and legal custody until other custody agreements have been reached. But this is much different for unmarried couples.
When an unmarried couple has children, the mother retains physical and legal custody of the child naturally. There this means that there does not need to be any existing court order in place for the mother to retain custody of the child. If your relationship ends, becomes tumultuous, or otherwise falls apart, and you do not have a child custody agreement in place, this could become a serious point of contention if you are unmarried.
The Importance of Having Child Custody Plans for Unmarried Parents
Even if your relationship is strong, it is important that you take steps to have a child custody plan in place. The child’s mother usually retains custody of her children. As an unmarried couple, if you want to extend custody rights to the father of the child as well, you need to get this written down as part of your child custody plan.
In the event that you do not have a child custody plan in place and your relationship subsequently ends, you may face issues in establishing your custody rights in court. Working with your child’s other parent to formulate child custody plans can go a long way in protecting both you and your children from what could become a difficult situation in the future.
Child Custody Plans for Unmarried Parents
While your relationship is still going strong, now may be the perfect time to figure out what child custody plans might look like for you. Your current child custody plans can also be included. You may want to consider adding the following types of information:
- Who is responsible for dropping off and picking up the children
- How childcare currently works
- What religion you are raising your children in
- What schools they are attending
- Other major lifestyle decisions
Then, you should start to talk about what your life might look like if your relationship ended. How would you share custody of your children? Now may even be a good time to discuss how child support would work. While you and your partner are still happily raising your children together, this may be the perfect time to discuss the worst-case scenario and protect both each other and your children by formulating a strong child custody plan for unmarried parents.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Alabama
Despite the fact that you and your child’s other parent may be in a committed relationship, if you are unmarried, it may be in your best interest to get your child custody arrangement in writing. This can go a long way to protect both you, your partner, and your children in the event that your relationship ends.
Contact a dedicated Alabama child custody lawyer at Coumanis & York to start working on your arrangements. You can schedule your no-risk consultation when you fill out our online contact form or call our office at (251) 260-3927.