Unmarried Parents

Children born out of wedlock are entitled to the same rights and protections as children born in wedlock. Unmarried fathers have rights and duties similar to those of married fathers. One of the most important legal responsibilities of parents is supporting their children. Parents are legally obligated to provide their children with all the necessities of life. The failure of parents to marry does not affect their responsibility to support their children. If parents are unmarried and cannot agree upon how much each should contribute toward the support of their children, the courts may decide. A court can order one parent to make specified payments to the other for child support.

State laws provide that biological parents make all the decisions involving their children, including education, health care, and religious upbringing. Parents are not required to secure the legal right to make these decisions if they are married and are listed on the child’s birth certificate. However, if there is disagreement about who has the right to make these decisions courts can decide.


Inside Unmarried Parents