If you're not married to your partner and you have children together, there are some unique issues and concerns you...
If you're not married to your partner and you have children together, there are some unique issues and concerns you might face. However, there are some steps you can take that will protect your rights as a parent. 702486_afternoon_near_the_sea-250×165.jpgFirst, make sure that both your names are on your child's birth certificate. If one of your names is missing contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics to learn about adding a name. Most states require unmarried fathers to sign a paternity acknowledgment or affidavit. If you give birth in a hospital, often hospital staff will help you take care of this. If you have a homebirth ask your care provider if they will be providing forms or if you'll need to acquire some before the birth. A basic parenting agreement (even better when combined with a living will) can go a long way in establishing parental rights. (For instance, if you later separate.) This a good starting point but there are many other issues to consider that tie into parenting -- buying a home together, medical decisions, estate planning and owning property together. Where can you find the best information? A great resource for advice about all of the above is the legal self-help powerhouse, Nolo Press. they have an amazing website with pages and pages of articles related to living together. They also publish many very good books. Two relevant books are: I have the first book, and it's all-inclusive. It comes with a CD that contains forms for planning and covers every single question you might have as an unmarried partner. (I imagine the second title is equally comprehensive.) With these resources, unmarried couples can make the best decisions, together, for their family.

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