Featured News 2016 Rights of Unwed Fathers

Rights of Unwed Fathers

In today's society, more and more children are being born out of wedlock and this raises questions about a father's parental rights. If you are an unmarried father, you may be wondering about your rights and responsibilities towards your children, especially if you are no longer in a romantic relationship with your children's mother – these are extremely valid questions.

When a man is married to a woman, he is automatically presumed to be the legal father upon his child's birth. The law doesn't question his paternity. In contrast, if a child is born to "unmarried parents," the father has no legal rights or responsibilities to his child unless paternity is established. To establish paternity means to decide who a child's "legal father" is.

How is paternity established?

While the laws vary slightly from state to state, generally paternity is established through a voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, or through a court order. Here's how these two methods are accomplished:

  • Both parents sign the voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity shortly after the child's birth at the hospital, or
  • A paternity action is filed with the court, the court orders a DNA test and if it's a match, the court names the presumed father as the child's legal father.

Sometimes, a man has no knowledge that he fathered a child, but finds out months, if not years after the child's birth. In this case, he would want to initiate a paternity action with the court.

Sometimes, a woman names a man as the father of her baby, but the man is not 100% sure. In these situations, the presumed father should have an attorney file a paternity action so his DNA can be compared to the child's DNA.

What are your rights as an unwed father? Without a signed Acknowledgement of Paternity, or without a court order saying that you are the legal father, you will have zero rights and responsibilities towards your child, even if you are certain you are the biological father.

Once paternity is established through a paternity action, you will have the right to ask for visitation (and in many states custody), and you will be obligated to pay child support.

To obtain legal representation in a paternity action, contact a family law attorney near you!

Related News:

Taxes and Divorce

Filing taxes after divorce or separation can be complicated. As another tax year begins, it is important to remember how taxes may affect your post-divorce life. Many couples face high tax costs after ...
Read More »

An Overview of the Different Types of Divorce

The type of divorce you can get will depend on the laws of the state where you file, as well as on how well you and your spouse are able to work together on the terms of your divorce. If you want to ...
Read More »

Are You Ready to Get Married?

When you know, you know. That's what people always say anyway. If you have found the one and are ready to tie the knot, there are a few steps you have to take before you can start hearing wedding ...
Read More »