Child custody for never married couple


All child custody laws apply to parents regardless of marital status.

If NC has been the home/residence of a child for the past six months, then NC is the proper jurisdiction for child custody.

Hope that helps,

Lisa M. Angel
Board Certified Family Law Specialist
The Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 781-1741 direct voice
(919) 256-1660 direct fax
(919) 787-6668 main voice
(919) 787-6361 main fax

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


I have read several responses related to N.C. child custody laws as it relates to “couples.” Most responses indicate that “couple” refers to married individuals. I need clarification on a custody law as it relates to an unmarried couple. My husband and his 4 year old son’s mother never established custody rights and were never married. Both names are on the birth certificate. My husband and I currently live in Georgia; he recently moved to Georgia from North Carolina in March '05. His son and the mother still reside in N.C. First question: which law should apply, North Carolina or Georgia? We have been told North Carolina law applies; please confirm.
Prior to his move, he visited with his son almost on a daily basis. The mother has not been cooperative with him in terms of visitation since his move. However, after threats of taking her to court, she has recently agreed to allow the child to come visit for a few weeks this summer. We have been informed by several sources, your site included, that both parents have equal rights until custody is established. Does this apply to any “parental” couple or married couples only?
We also need to know, when and if the child comes to visit, will it be considered kidnapping/abduction if my husband chooses not to take the child back to North Carolina at the end of the verbally agreed term; until we’re able to secure an attorney and have custody established. We are in the process of trying to locate an attorney, but we need to know these questions now before we proceed. It took us about a month or so, to even find out where the child was, so we are anxious to move on this as soon as possible while she is being cooperative and before she disappears again. Thanks in advance for your advice and suggestions.