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Child custody presents challenges for unmarried couples

Paul George's current legal dispute points out some issues which may be of concern to unmarried Virginia couples trying to resolve a child custody matter. George allegedly fathered a child with Daniela Rajic, a woman he met in Florida. A paternity test performed before the birth confirmed George as the father. However, he disputes the test's method and result. He plans to accept responsibility if another test confirms him as the father.

Rajic and George each seek sole custody of the baby girl who was born in May, although George would agree to grant the mother of his child some visitation rights. Rajic claims George's frequent travel for work makes him unfit to receive sole custody. George argues that since Rajic is unemployed and allegedly unwilling to work, she doesn't deserve sole custody. Due to her lack of financial resources, he says she must rely on others to help her provide for the baby. Her attorney says that the reason his client isn't working is because she is taking care of the child.

According to George, his financial resources permit him to provide the best care and support. He claims the baby would suffer if the court awarded he and Rajic joint custody. George made a request to move the case to Florida. He indicated if he fails to win sole custody rights, he wants to pay Rajic less child support than Florida law requires.

The issues George and Rajic face mirror many issues commonly seen with unmarried couples attempting to reach an agreement in a child custody dispute. To resolve a case such as this in the best interests of the child, the court often considers a variety of factors. While the income of the parents merits some consideration, parenting time and visitation rights also should be addressed to support each parent's right to build a relationship with their child.

Source: INDY Star, "Pacers' Paul George seeks sole custody of child", June 30, 2014

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