We often have people come in, and they are co-parents, but were never married. Often they choose not to file a paternity action, therefore, do not have their agreements around parenting as part of an enforceable court order. It may not SEEM like a big deal, but it definitely can become a big issue if one party decides, for whatever reason, they don’t want to give the child back at the end of their parenting time.
A friend of mine just dealt with this issue first hand, actually, is still dealing with it. It is heartbreaking and an absolute tragedy. Her name is Michele Gutierrez, she is a former MMA fighter, and her daughters’ father is now using her former career as a way to try and gain custody of their 3-year old daughter. However, he did it in one of the worst ways… basically, what anyone who witnessed it would call kidnapping. However, because there was not a court-order, he has been able to keep her and her daughter apart for nearly one-month. To learn more, listen to her podcast where she speaks about her situation. I warn you though, grab the Kleenex, it is heart breaking!