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While unmarried couples who break up have no legal or financial responsibilities towards each other, they do have legal responsibilities for any children they share. Child custody, child support, and property rights then become issues that must be addressed so that children will not suffer the loss of financial support or valued time with both parents. If you are an unmarried person who needs legal assistance, you can rely on Hedman Family Law. We serve individuals and families in and around the greater Gresham area.
Attorney Natalie Hedman offers a fully-rounded understanding of family breakups from both a personal and a legal standpoint.
What Rights Do Unmarried Fathers Have in Oregon?
If an unmarried father is named as the child’s father on the birth certificate, his paternity is established and entitles him to parental rights in terms of custody and parenting time. If this is not done at the time of the child’s birth, an unmarried father may need to prove his paternity later to ensure his parental rights.
In Oregon, this can be done by:
- Completing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity
- Having both parents sign the form
- Obtaining a notary’s signature
- Sending the form to Oregon’s Vital Records
An unmarried mother may also need to prove a father’s paternity in order to petition for child support from an absent father who contests it. Paternity will then be established through DNA testing.
Who Has Custody of a Child When The Parents Are Not Married in Oregon?
Paternity must be established before an Oregon court can award any type of custody to an unmarried father. Child custody and support are then handled using the same guidelines, laws, and circumstances as used for married couples where both parent have equal rights to custody.
Oregon courts generally favor that the child have a frequent and continuing relationship with both parents unless the child’s safety would advise against it. Unmarried couples who are both legally responsible for a child will need to handle the issues of child custody and support through the courts.
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