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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Family Law > Unmarried Parents and Parental Rights

Unmarried Parents and Parental Rights


Whether parents are married or not, the dissolution of a relationship can bring complex challenges. After all, establishing parenting time, determining custody rights, and understanding the legal landscape for parents may not be immediately clear. But if you are in this situation, know that you are not alone, there are experts who can guide you through the process of crafting a parenting plan.

Parents who reside in New Jersey and Pennsylvania should schedule a conversation with a Bucks County family attorney. Lawyers can inform you of your parental rights and play a key role in achieving your desired custody schedule.

Setting Up Parenting Time for Unmarried Parents

When a relationship between unmarried parents comes to an end, navigating parenting time becomes a critical aspect of ensuring the well-being of the child. In many situations, open and honest communication with the other parent is a way to collaboratively develop a parenting plan that outlines each parent’s responsibilities, including parenting time and decision-making authority. This plan can serve as a guiding document for co-parenting.

If direct negotiations prove challenging, engaging in mediation could be a way to reach a solution. Through the mediation process, a neutral third party assists in facilitating discussions and reaching an agreement that prioritizes the child’s best interests. When all else fails, legal intervention may be necessary.

It is also important to recognize that the legal landscape regarding the rights of unmarried parents can vary between states, including neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

  • New Jersey. Parental rights for unmarried parents in New Jersey are generally similar to those of married parents. The court considers the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements. Both parents have the right to seek legal and physical custody.
  • Following an approach similar to New Jersey, Pennsyalva law focuses on the best interests of the child. Unmarried parents in Pennsylvania can petition for legal and physical custody. The court may consider factors such as the relationship with each parent, stability, and the child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community.

NJ and PA residents who want to establish parenting time should engage the services of a family lawyer who possesses in-depth knowledge of family law in their home state, including the nuances of custody laws for unmarried parents.

Negotiation, Mediation, and Court Representation

Bucks County family attorneys are adept at negotiating and mediating custody agreements. They can advocate for your rights, facilitate discussions with the other parent, and work towards a mutually acceptable parenting plan.

In the event that legal intervention becomes necessary, a family lawyer can represent your interests in court. They will present a compelling case, utilizing their legal expertise to secure the desired custody arrangement, and this is true if you were married or unmarried when your child was born.

How are you managing custody conversations as you end a partnership with your child’s other parent? For unmarried parents, understanding parental rights and establishing a custody schedule is essential. Talk about your New Jersey or Pennsylvania parenting concern with the legal team at Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Call 215-968-6602 for a consultation.

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