What are unmarried couples rights to child custody?

With regard to the custody of children conceived by an unmarried couple, nothing much changes to those borne to a married couple. In this day and age, there are many children whose parents were never married, or whose parents were never even in a committed relationship with each other. Care must be taken where children are concerned though and unmarried couples have to work in solidarity to ensure that their children’s futures are promising. Herewith a few pointers with regard to child custody for unmarried couples.

  • Although couples are unmarried, their responsibility towards their children is the same as for married couples and it is essential that both parents take equal responsibility in ensuring that the children are well cared for.
  • The majority of custody agreements in respect of children conceived by unmarried couples are made out-of-court. It is essential that unmarried couples have a maintenance agreement drawn up with the help of a child custody attorney. These agreements must be accepted by both parties and they must ensure that the agreements are well-respected and that decisions are made in the best interests of the children.
  • The unmarried couples in respect of child custody should both have joint custody of the child/children. In cases where this is impossible, or parents agree otherwise, the parents should agree on the primary custody or care of the child/children.
  • Every parent has the right of visitation, however, unmarried couples may need to go to court in order to settle the visitation rights in cases where visitation creates problems for one of the parents.
  • Maintenance and support should be approached the same. The unmarried couples, in order to sufficiently provide in the child’s care and needs, should determine how much money is u required to fulfill this role. This should be resolved in court in cases where unmarried couples are unable to do this by agreement.
  • It is imperative for unmarried couples to realize the significance of having both parents involved in all aspects of the child’s life. The parents must support each other and respect each other’s concerns in order to ensure that the child is well looked after and has a fruitful relationship with both parents.
  • Child custody for unmarried couples should not be a difficult agreement, and if the unmarried couple does every possible action in the best interests of the child, they will be able to support and love their child.

JA Attorneys are specialist child custody lawyers based in Johannesburg. Contact us today.