Having a child before getting married used to be something that was generally stigmatized and even hidden. In previous generations, if this happened, a couple would often quickly plan a wedding and get married. While that does still happen, many parents choose not to get married just because they have a child together.
What this means is that there are some serious considerations that unmarried parents must evaluate to protect themselves and their child, whether they plan to eventually marry or not.
If you are not married to the other parent of your child, you may need to do a few things to protect the rights of the child’s father in California. This includes establishing parentage which can require biological testing to confirm the genetic relationship between the father and child.
Once parentage is established, the father can enforce his rights to seek custody and/or visitation and he can also be held responsible for child support.
Even if you and the other parent of your child do decide to get married, you may want to discuss completing a prenuptial agreement. People who have children and then get married are no more or less likely to stay married when compared to people who get married first and then have kids. This is according to a recent study conducted by Council on Contemporary Families.
The fact is there is a possibility for divorce no matter when parents have kids so it is helpful to have a safety net in place. While you generally cannot address things like child support in a prenup, you can use a prenup to protect your individual assets and things like inheritances and property you have set aside for your child.
Whether you are divorced, unmarried, cohabitating with your partner or planning to get married soon, you may want to seriously consider the legal complications that can arise and put your rights and your child’s well-being in jeopardy. Discussing your situation with an attorney sooner rather than later is a good way to avoid or deal with these legal complications.
Source: USA Today, “Baby before marriage doesn’t increase divorce risk, study says,” Mary Bowerman, Sept. 16, 2015