A child out of wedlock is known as bastard or unlawful child and it was considered as the most shameful thing in the olden days. A child bone out of a woman who was not married at the time of conception or till the child birth or bone out of another person other than the person to whom the woman is married is considered as a bastard.
Parental rights for unmarried couples
There is no doubt that society has changed considerably and the children born to parents who were not married are not facing the stigma that they used to face some years ago, say about 30 or 50 years ago. It is not known whether the stigma has vanished as a result of increase in the children born out of wedlock or whether the increase was caused as a result of the absence of stigma related to this issue.
The statistics shows that in the year 1970, about 64 % of white children and 18% of white children were born out of wed locks. It also shows that in the year 2014 54 % of the newborns in America belonged to the out of wedlock category. Let us examine the legal issues related to this category of children and their parenting.
The major point in this matter is related to the parental responsibility. Parental responsibility is the legal issue related to the rights and responsibilities of a parent. The parental details will be needed when the child is brought to a school or hospital for admission. A mother has parental responsibility about the child from the first day of the birth of the child. The father will have and can show parental responsibility only if he is married to the mother of the chid. This situation becomes entirely different if he is not married. From December first, 2003, the parental responsibility of the father takes effect if he has jointly registered the birth of the child together with its mother. If this is not the case, then there should be one parental responsibility agreement or should be a direction from a competent court of law regarding parental responsibility.
Child’s name: Childs name is often registered with father’s name given as the surname of the child. If the father is not married to the mother the surname of the child will be the same as that of the mother. If a father married to the mother of a child separates after some years due to some reasons, the mother cannot change the surname of the child to her surname on the basis that the father is not taking up father’s responsibility for the child. If the mother wants to change the surname of the child it can be done only with the consent of all the concerned including the father of the child or on the strength of an order from the competent court of law.
Financial perspective also has some vital changes when the couples are living as married husband and wife or living as husband and wife without marrying. When a married couple separate, competent court can pass orders on various issues like selling or transferring of properties, payment of lump sum by one party to the other, orders relating to the pensions to be paid, amount of maintenance allowance one party has to pay to the other party etc.
Unmarried father to pay for child support
If the paternity is proved, it is the responsibility of the father to support the child as if he was the father of the child. The child’s mother is allowed to approach an appropriate court and can file petition claiming financial support of the father for bringing up the child. The guidelines issued in this regard will decide the amount to be paid by the father towards the raising up of the child. Though there can be slight variation in the guidelines from state to state most of them are based on the earning capacity of both the parents. Judges have the power to decide the amount based on the individual circumstances and true facts of the case.