Child Custody Rights Of Unmarried Parents

As a Las Vegas Family Law Attorney we hear all of the time from parents who are not married. Many of them are not sure what their rights are when it comes to child custody. Others still believe they have no rights to custody of their children unless they are married. This uncertainty can often lead parents to establishing a pattern with their children that results in one parent having less time and paying more money than the custody laws in Nevada require. This article address the child custody rights of unmarried parents in Nevada. 


Before a father can establish custodial rights, parentage or paternity, must be established. This can be done either by placing the father's name on the child's birth certificate or by initiating litigation for paternity and custody. The alleged father will undergo paternity testing and if the man is determined to be the father, he will have his name added to the child's birth certificate.

Custody and Visitation Rights

In Nevada, our custody laws state that there is no preference for custody as to a mother or father. This means that mothers and fathers have equal rights to a child in Nevada custody court. This is true whether the parents are married or unmarried. While there are a number of factors a judge will consider in making a final determination of custody, unmarried parents start the child custody process as equals. Both parents are entitled to equal rights to the child until a Court issues a final determination otherwise.

Child Support

Child support is established based upon the custodial designation for physical custody. We have issued a number of articles about child support. In brief, both parents have an equal obligation to support the child based upon their respective incomes. Again, this is true regardless of whether or not the parents are married.

Unmarried parents have rights and responsibilities the same as married parents. However, given the lack of a legal marriage between the parents, establishing custody rights and enforcing custodial obligations can become more complicated. Parents who are not married need to take the appropriate steps to ensure their parental rights are protected and that their parental obligations are met.

If you or someone you know needs help establishing custodial rights, paternity or child support as an unmarried parent, call us today at (702) 433-2889 or fill out ouron-line form for more information. We can help.

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