Having a baby and not being married can be problematic. In most states, fathers do not have parental rights until paternity is established, and as such, the law favors establishing paternity to protect the rights of the parties. Indeed, a putative father may not have legal rights to visit his child unless paternity is proven. Further, the child does not have the right to inherit or use the father’s health insurance.
It is not uncommon for couples to have disputes over paternity. To avoid this, fathers should make sure they are named on the birth certificate. The law mandates couples be given a chance to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity. This document can be signed in the hospital and carries the weight of a court order. Once it is signed, the father has parental rights. If the father refuses to sign, a DNA test must be completed. In some instances, paternity is assumed. For example, a man is assumed to be the father if he marries a woman after she becomes pregnant.
Parental rights include being able to visit the child regularly. Hopefully, the parties will be able to agree on a schedule. If not, court action may be necessary. Regular visitation is important for a father to be able to establish a bond with the child. These are experienced lawyers in the area of family law and will fight for your rights. Fathers are required to pay child support. The amount of support is based on how much one makes and the needs of the child.
Sometimes, disputes over paternity arise when the father tries to assert his legal rights. Many mothers refuse to give the father access to information about the child. The father has to go to court and seek joint legal custody. Fathers with custody have equal access to information. Also, fathers want to play a part in making decisions about the child’s future. The courts are likely to grant legal custody if the father and child have an ongoing relationship. Parents should realize that children need a relationship with both of them.
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