Unmarried Parents? Win Your Custody Battle Now!

Are you an unmarried parent worried about your legal custody rights?

Going through a custody battle?

Wondering if you have any custody rights at all?

Well, we’re here to help.

In this guide, we address the child custody rights of unmarried parents. Get answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Let’s get to it!

Not Married? Establish Parentage First!


In Nevada, the law assumes that when a couple is married at the time a baby is born, the husband is the father. Seems pretty simple right?

But what happens if a couple isn’t married at the time the child is born? Or what happens if the parents divorced before the child was born?

Before a father can have parental rights, the father must establish parentage or paternity.

Paternity can be established in one of two ways.

First, the father can sign a document known as an acknowledgment of paternity and have his name added to the child’s birth certificate as the father.

Keep in mind that this form needs to be completed by both parents, signed, notarized, and mailed to the Nevada Department of Vital Statistics.

The other way to establish paternity is to obtain a Court order declaring the father as a parent. This is usually done by filing a paternity case.

We won’t go into too much detail about paternity cases here since this guide is about the legal custody rights of unmarried parents.

For the purposes of this article, let’s just say that the first step to getting physical custody rights if you are not married is to establish parentage.

Custody and Visitation Rights Of Unmarried Parents

Unmarried Parents Custody

Nevada sole custody laws do not prefer a mother over a father.

Basically, both parents have equal rights to the child in custody court.

And . . . this is the same for married and unmarried parents.

So how does a judge determine who gets legal custody if parents aren’t married?

In every child custody case, the judge will consider the best interests of the child.

In Nevada, our laws say that when the parents come into court, married or unmarried, they start from a position of joint legal and joint physical custody.

The family court judge will then consider the best interest factors as follows:

  • The parents’ ability to cooperate to meet the child’s needs
  • Whether or not the child has half-siblings or step-siblings
  • How well and bonded the child is to each parent
  • What the child wants taking into consideration the child’s age and maturity
  • Any history of domestic violence or child abuse
  • Each parent’s willingness to foster a meaningful relationship with the child and the other parent
  • Whether any parent has abducted the child

The key takeaway here is that the child’s best interests come first. Married or unmarried parents makes no difference.

Child Support For Unmarried Parents

The child support calculation is the same for married and unmarried parents.

The two things to consider for child support are the type of custody and the number of minor children.

When one parent has primary custody, the court uses the income of the non-custodial parent for child support.

When parents share joint custody, the final child support amount is based on both parents’ incomes.

Remember that Nevada child support laws changed on February 1, 2020.

Want more information about child support? Check out our Child Support Guide here.

How Do I Establish My Custody Rights If I’m Not Married?

Unmarried parents have rights and responsibilities the same as married parents.

However, since there is no marriage, establishing legal custody rights and enforcing custodial obligations can become more complicated.

Therefore, it’s necessary to take steps to protect your rights.

First, you need to file a complaint about custody, your visitation schedule, and support. If you haven’t already established paternity, you need to include a claim for paternity in your complaint.

Next, you will need to serve the other parent with the court action. Do this by hiring a process server or have a friend, or family member, give the papers to the other parent.

Then you will wait for a court date. At the court hearing, you explain to the judge your side of the story. Show the judge that it is in your child’s best interests for you to have custodial rights.

If your case is really ugly, consider hiring a lawyer.

What Happens If The Parents Are Still Living Together?

Even if you live with the other parents, you still have legal custody rights.

It is important to establish rights if you know your relationship is ending.

On the other hand, establishing rights early on is good insurance in the event of a break-up.

Where both parents are living together with the child, the Court is unlikely to take action.

In that case, we recommend having a lawyer draft a parenting time plan that you can put in place once you are no longer residing under the same roof.

Don’t want to hire a lawyer? Find good parenting plans here, you can write up yourself.

Or . . . attend family mediation at the Family Court to have a mediator assist you in creating a parenting plan.

Do I Need A Lawyer For My Child Custody Case?

Custody Lawyer

It’s not necessary to hire a lawyer for every custody case.

There are tons of good resources available on-line in cases where both parents agree on a plan.

However, if your case is ugly and crazy contested, it is best to hire an attorney.

Further Reading

Don’t miss out on our other informative posts as well:

  1. Do You Have Child Custody Questions?” – This post addresses common questions and concerns related to child custody, providing helpful information and guidance.

  2. Does My New Spouse Income Count for Child Support?” – This post explores the considerations surrounding the income of a new spouse and its impact on child support calculations, providing insights for individuals in such situations.

  3. Tips for Family Mediation” – This post offers valuable tips and suggestions for navigating family mediation effectively, promoting productive communication and resolution in custody and divorce cases.

  4. Supervised Visitation: The Good The Bad And The Truth [Updated 2022]” – This post provides insights into the concept of supervised visitation, discussing its benefits, drawbacks, and providing updated information for readers.

  5. Las Vegas Paternity Law” – This post focuses specifically on paternity laws in Las Vegas or similar jurisdictions, offering information and guidance on legal aspects related to establishing and determining paternity.

  6. Divorce, Custody & Your Child’s Education” – This post explores the intersection of divorce, custody, and a child’s education, providing insights and considerations for parents navigating these complex dynamics.

  7. When Can a Child Decide They Don’t Want to See a Parent” – This post examines the circumstances in which a child’s preferences may be considered in custody matters, shedding light on the factors involved and legal considerations.

  8. Fathers Rights: 95 Horrific Mistakes Men Make During Custody Battles” – This post addresses common mistakes that fathers may inadvertently make during custody battles, offering important insights and guidance to protect their rights and interests.

  9. How to Get Child Support Arrears Dismissed” – This post provides information and strategies for individuals seeking to have child support arrears dismissed, offering guidance on the legal processes involved.

  10. Tips For Modifying Nevada Child Support” – This post offers tips and considerations for modifying child support in Nevada, providing guidance to individuals seeking changes to their existing child support orders.

We encourage readers to explore these resources to gain valuable insights and guidance.

Next Steps

What's Next?

Are you in Las Vegas and looking for a child custody lawyer?

Look no further than The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm.

We understand that finding the right attorney is essential, so we strive to provide outstanding service from start to finish!

Our experienced attorneys know all about family law, especially child custody cases.

With our help, you can rest assured that your claim is handled confidently and precisely.

Don’t waste any more time; call us at (702) 433-2889 today and get the legal representation you deserve!

Sign up for our Newsletter