Does a single father who was never married to the child's mother need to establish custody before he can petition the court for child support?
Parental custody rights must usually be established before child support can be addressed. Generally the parent with whom the child resides is the one that the court presumes is the custodial parent unless the parent who the child does not live with wishes to contest the matter. However, since no marriage existed between the parents, it will in this case be necessary for the father to file suit for custodial rights before he can pursue any other actions against the absentee mother. In addition, paternity must be established by the father to the satisfaction of the court according to the laws of the state in which the child was born, before the court will take the custodial matters and other issues pertaining to the child into consideration.