Many Louisiana couples make the decision to seek alternatives to marriage. This decision is personal and best made together, in the best interests of both parties.
However, when it comes to children, there are considerations that fathers must make. Do both parents have parental rights to their children if they are unmarried in Louisiana? Does the mother? Does the father?
Do both an unmarried mother and father gain rights to a child?
Louisiana law grants sole parental rights to the mother at birth. For married couples, the state deems the married husband the presumptive father. For married couples, the father is then seen as an equal legally to the mother. This is not the case for unmarried couples.
What options does an unmarried couple have to get parental rights?
Unmarried St. Charles Parish parents can gain parental rights, but paternity for the unmarried father must be established. This can be done through an acknowledgment of paternity, laboratory tests or both.
Are you looking to leave?
If you are considering separating from the birth mother and desire custody (either full or shared), it may be in your best interest to establish paternity now.
Louisiana law does not grant an unmarried father this automatically, and after you leave, you may find it harder to get parental rights in Jefferson Parish.
If you need assistance in an amicable relationship to establish paternity, or if you need assistance in a contentious situation, an Orleans Parish family law attorney can be an asset to help you assert your rights.
Unmarried fathers have to take extra steps to gain parental rights, but in the case of separation or an unforeseen death, establishing parental rights can benefit your family.