You and your partner never married because it just never felt like the right thing to do. When you found out that she was pregnant with twins, you were elated. In your mind, you felt like you’d all stay together like a family, even if you didn’t get married.

Several months later, your relationship was rocky at best. Your children were young, and you were ready to get away from their mother. This is a complex situation because you want to provide for them, but you also need to get out of this relationship.

When you and the mother of your children are not married, you may want to have an attorney help you set up a joint custody agreement. If you have already established that you are the biological parent of your twins through a voluntary acknowledgment or a paternity test, you can also ask the court to establish a custody schedule if your ex-partner does not want to arrange one with you.

What should you do if you’re facing a dispute over custody?

If you end up facing a custody dispute, keep in mind that you do have a right to see your children, but it is also key to be flexible. Both parents should be reasonable, keeping in mind your children’s ages, needs and your own personal and private responsibilities. When children are young, for example, they may need to stay with their mothers for breastfeeding. It would be more reasonable for a father to come for short visits or for a few hours in those instances, rather than seeking multiple days of custody away from the mother. If a child is older, then the arrangements might include overnights with each parent. Your attorney can help you negotiate a solution, so you’re both satisfied with the results.