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A look at the legal rights of parents and their children. Most people picture an "unwed mother" as a teenage girl, abandoned by her boyfriend as beautiful teen in high heels nude as her baby is conceived.
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However, a majority of unmarried parents are adults and are frequently in committed relationships even if they are not married. So, how does the marital status of these unmarried parents affect their legal rights and what impact do the laws have on their children? Parental rights are generally established by state legislation and vary widely.
In many cases, unmarried parents have fewer rights than those who are married.
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Unmarried parents have the added challenge of working through the legal system in order to assert their limited rights. Nebraskan Luke Armour became intimately familiar with his home state's parental rights laws when he lost the custody battle for his daughter. Informed by his ex-girlfriend that she was pregnant and then notified of her intent to give the baby up for adoption, Armour hired an attorney to petition for custody.
Unfortunately, the state of Nebraska only allows 30 days for unmarried fathers to assert their rights. An error in the attorney's office led to a missed deadline. Just like that, Armour lost the battle to be a father to his daughter.