If the Parents Are Unmarried: An unmarried mother has sole legal and physical custody of her child until a court orders otherwise.
If the Parents Are Married: Both parents share legal custody of the child and equal rights to parenting time until a court orders otherwise or they agree upon a parenting schedule/plan that is approved by the court. This means that both you and your spouse have equal rights to make major decisions about your child’s life. This may change after a court hearing on custody.
Establishing Child Custody
- Seeking an Initial Child Custody or Visitation Order
- Who Has Custody Before Going to Court?
- Who Can File for Custody?
- What if I Have Been Abused?
- Where Do I File for Custody?
- What Forms Do I File for Custody or Visitation?
- How to File for Custody or Visitation
- How Does a Judge Decide Child Custody or Visitation?
- More Information About Custody and Visitation Orders