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unmarried parents, separation, parenting plan

Unmarried parents can raise complicated issues when deciding on who will care for the children after a breakup. Mediation can help you come to decisions about the practical considerations of raising children out-of-wedlock without resorting to the high cost of litigation.

Mediation for unmarried parents can assist with decisions regarding:

  • Child Support

  • Parenting Plan

  • Establishing Paternity

  • and even Pets

Child Support:

Child support for unmarried couples follow the same guidelines as they do for married parents. A family mediator can help an unmarried couple come to terms on the child support obligation that best serves them.  Mediation helps to restore equilibrium within the family. Children are in a much better position to overcome the devastation of divorce or separation, and return to their everyday life activities. Parenting schedule and child support can be altered without an involvement of a court. All issues are discussed and may be changed in accordance with the children’s needs. Therefore, agreements are usually honored by the divorced or separated parties mutually.

Parenting Plan:

Child custody and parenting plans for unmarried parents is an important issue. Unmarried parents have the right to maintain a relationship with their children through parenting time. While it is easily assumed that the mother has legal custody when the child is not born of a marriage, the parties can themselves agree to joint legal custody.  The parties can also agree to a parenting arrangement for parenting time that best serves their and the children's needs. Having this conversation between unmarried couples facilitated by a family mediator is a great step in maintaining good will and open communication between parents, which will greatly benefit their children and their future.

Establishing Paternity:

Establishing paternity can be done through a court action, which formalizes a father’s relationship to a child born out of wedlock.  A father and mother may establish paternity by agreement by acknowledging the father’s parentage in a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage, to be registered in court.  
A family mediator can be an excellent neutral facilitator of the discussion between the two parents, and can help them formulate an agreement that well serves their child and reduces future conflict.

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