Can an unmarried mother take her child and move away from Louisville without the father’s permission? While this is actually a quite complex legal question, the simple answer begins with “yes, unless the father of the child asserts his rights and paternity under Kentucky law.” If this is the case, how does an unmarried father in Kentucky protect his child custody and visitation rights and the parenting privileges to ensure that he can play an active role throughout the child’s life?
First, a little history. When a child is born to a couple who is married, the State of Kentucky legally presumes the husband of the mother to be the baby’s biological father. When a mother is unmarried important rights regarding legal and physical custody for the child are solely the mother’s under Kentucky law.
If an unmarried father wishes to protect his own child custody and visitation rights and participate actively in important decisions regarding the child’s life he must seek orders from our Courts through a process known as “establishing paternity.”
If both unmarried parents sign the “Voluntary Declaration of Paternity” at the hospital, or complete associated paperwork and properly file it with the appropriate agency, the State of Kentucky may recognize a man as the father of a child. The father’s name will be listed on the birth certificate. However, this does not legally or permanently establish legal custody or visitation rights.
The unmarried father of a child in Kentucky is still required to seek specific orders from the Court to establish legal custody (the right to make important decisions in the child’s life including medical and educational issues) visitation and support. Without these Court orders an unmarried father may not be able to stop the unmarried mother of his son or daughter from making a decision to take her child and move away from Louisville.
If the mother of the child is not cooperative, or if time has passed since the child’s birth, the process of establishing paternity may become a bit more complex. There is a legal process to establish proof of paternity (often through a simple DNA swab of father and child) after which the father can request Court orders regarding child custody, visitation and support.
Can an unmarried mother take her child and move away from Louisville without the father’s permission? Generally speaking, yes, unless the unmarried father of the child asserts his legal custody and visitation rights in a paternity action. The number of legal variables in these cases are numerous, but it is absolutely possible for an unmarried father to step forward, establish paternity and ask the court for legal custody, visitation and support rights. If you are an unmarried father and have questions about a paternity related matter, we invite you to review the strong recommendations of our former clients and contact us or call 502-584-1108 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced divorce and family law attorneys.