What Parental Rights Do Unmarried Fathers Have?


My little brother is having issues with his on/off girlfriend who keeps taking their daughter away from him and then she decides to come back to him. He supports both of them, and she doesn’t work or even go to school. I would like to help him have custody over their daughter but I don’t know where to start. Does he have any rights if he is not married to the mother of his child? Any help you can provide me to start the process of getting some type of custody would be greatly appreciated.


Paternity issues are state specific.  Therefore your particular matter would require consultation with a New Mexico licensed attorney.  Depending on how your state treats paternity actions procedurally, your brother should be able to get a specific parenting time schedule forcing her to provide the child on specific days and times.  He may also be able to petition the court for custody, and have child support set at a specific amount so he isn’t just throwing money at her in an effort see his daughter.

Erik H. Carter is a Senior Attorney of the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. office in Indianapolis, Indiana as well as the Litigation Manager of both the Indianapolis and Pittsburgh offices. Mr. Carter has practiced since 1993 as an attorney. He is licensed in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania as well as the Northern District of Indiana and the Southern District of Indiana.

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