Under the law of the state of Virginia, the court gives no legal right to the father of a child such as custody and visitation if the father was never married to the mother of the child. The father must obtain a court order for him to be able to file for custody or to be granted visitations with a child. This is due to the fact that unwed fathers are not automatically considered to be biologically related to their children.
In the case of unwed parents, the mother of the child is prohibited from receiving juvenile support payment from the juvenile’s biological father and is granted sole custody, as there is no legal assumption of fatherliness and hence the father must prove to be the biological father of the child, then proceed to file for either custody or visitation.
However, the father of the child can file a petition with the court, although it is expected from both the father and the mother of the child to verify that they are the child’s biological parents.
The mother of the child can prove maternity by providing the court with evidence that she has undeniably given birth to the child. On the other hand, the father can prove paternity by having a paternity test or providing the court with a written statement in which both the male caretaker and the mother pledge to truly being the male caretaker of the child, the statement is filed with the court afterward.
The court of the state of Virginia considers a number of factors affecting the juvenile’s life and upbringing, the court will rule in the best interest of the juvenile.
These factors may include:
- The age of the juvenile as well as the age of the parents
- The financial stability of each parent
- The location where each parent reside
- The parent’s ethical and virtual character
Nevertheless, the court will ensure that the minor has constant contact with both parents, unless the parent is proven to be unhealthy for the upbringing of the minor and may affect the minor’s mental and physical state.
Unmarried parents in Virginia that live under the same roof may face several issues that other married parents do not go through.
These issues include:
- The father of the minor must show prove to be the biological father of the minor.
- The confirmation of that the juvenile qualifies for government welfare and insurance
- Parental rights in a location like school and medical facilities
- Determining the surname of the juvenile
- The claiming of the juvenile on tax forms
Non-legal caretakers in Virginia have no right concerning the choices taken concerning the minor, in these situations; the priority is given to the legal caretaker of the minor.
Concerning the situations where caretaker are unable to naturally have children, the caretakers may consider an alternative way to have children and minor guardianship issues may arise. Alternative methods may include artificial conception and surrogacy, the non-biological caretaker must attain a court order as well as consent from the woman whom is to give birth to their minor.
If a situation of desertion occurs from either mother or father of a minor and the parent dissatisfies the support of the minor, the parent may be committing a first-degree crime and may face up to 12 months in jail and may also be fined.