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When unmarried parents have child custody issues

Children of unmarried parents have a bit different situation than children whose parents are married. In most cases around the country, an unwed mother who is considered a fit parent will be granted physical custody or as it is dubbed in Texas law, 'possession" of her children. However, a father can act through the courts to establish visitation or 'access" to his children. In child custody and visitation cases across the nation, the courts will always keep the best interests of the child in the forefront of the decision-making process.

When the court system becomes involved in child custody matters concerning unmarried parents, the pair are often given the opportunity to reach a resolution on their own. If the parents cannot reach a custody and visitation agreement, the family court judge will hear the case and make an informed decision.

There are circumstances where relatives such as grandparents or even family friends want possession or visitation access to a child. Each state has different laws and a specific process to follow when seeking either third-party custody or guardianship of children who biologically belong to someone else. When third-parties file a petition to gain physical custody of children, the parents are typically served with a copy of the petition before the court begins the process of hearing the case and making decisions based on the child's best interest. Along with custody procedures, every state and the District of Columbia have laws protecting grandparents' visitation rights.

Child custody cases of any magnitude can be difficult, and the more adults involved the more complicated these situations can become. Anyone who wants to gain custody or set up visitation rights with children whether they are biologically related or not, might get the help they need by consulting with an attorney who understands family law.

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