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The rights of unmarried parents are commonly misunderstood; many believe that they do not have the same rights as married or even divorced couples. In reality, New Jersey law does not discriminate against parents who are not or have not been legally wed for any matters involving child custody, visitation, and support. 

However, unmarried parents often face more challenges when it comes to obtaining child custody or support. To learn more about your parental rights, it’s best to speak with an experienced New Jersey family law attorney.  

From the family law attorneys at Hofmann Law Firm, LLC, here is what you need to know about your rights as unmarried parents:


According to New Jersey law, if an unmarried woman gives birth, the father has no rights to child custody, support, or visitation until paternity has been medically established. Most often, each parent agrees to identify the father amicably, and therefore, the father accepts all the parental rights and responsibilities. If there is a paternity dispute, the courts can order a genetic test to be conducted to confirm or deny a biological relationship.

Child Custody and Visitation

If paternity has been established, single parents have the same custody and visitation rights to their children as divorced parents would. If the mother or father wants to legally obtain sole custody, joint custody, and visitation with their child, they will need to seek help from a family law attorney and petition the courts. All matters regarding child custody and visitation are handled through the court system, keeping each parent’s situation and the child’s well-being in mind. 

Child Support

In New Jersey, the court operates with the policy that all children have the right to financial support from both parents, regardless of their marital or relationship status. Child support payments are determined using New Jersey Child Support Guidelines as well as other factors such as the incomes of each parent, the custody arrangements, and the needs of the child. Like divorced couples, once paternity is established, either the father or mother can petition the court for child support. 

Contact us today to set up a consultation with our expert family law attorney!

If you’re looking for a family law attorney in New Jersey, look no further than the Hofmann Law Firm, LLC. Keith Hofmann has the understanding and experience to help with all family law matters, including divorce, child custody, and more, and will be by your side through every part of the process.

Give us a call at 609.375.2049 or visit our website or learn more about how we can help you.