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Dropping marriage rates complicate paternal rights

Paternity is the cornerstone of father's rights. Paternity is the formal legal process by which fathers can secure legal rights to raise and parent their child. Unless you have paternal rights, you have no rights to your child ? no right to custody or make decisions for their well-being. Additionally, paternity subjects fathers to mandatory child support obligations.

A common issue that has cropped up as marriage rates drop is that unwed fathers lack the legal right to participate in raising their children. If the mother does not affirmatively acknowledge paternity, the father is forced to resort to the courts to secure his rights.

Many couples do not realize that fathers must sign paperwork that affirmatively grants them paternal rights. These are required forms for the father to gain any parental rights. Unfortunately, this means that when cohabiting couples break-up, the father is left with few options to gain parental rights. His only recourse is to file a paternity action and force a DNA test, a difficult and arduous process.

If you are engaged in a paternity action, either defending against fraud or trying to secure your rights as a father, then you should probably speak with a lawyer. As you can see, paternity actions are fraught with issues for fathers.

Many courts arrive at harsh results in the interest of finding someone to assign paternal rights. Moreover, courts defer to the mother and accept her substantiation of events, which requires you to rebut those assumptions. A lawyer can help you prosecute these actions to ensure that your rights are respected.

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