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What rights does an unmarried father have to his child?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2016 | Paternity

Most fathers probably take for granted that they have parental rights over their children, which is true the majority of the time. However, it is true only because fathers tend to fulfill the requirements to gain parental rights without intending to. If you fail to meet every requirement, then it is possible that you may lack parental rights over your child. This article will explore the method in which unmarried fathers gain parental rights.

To establish parental rights, fathers must fulfill two requirements. They must acknowledge paternity and commit to helping raise the child. Mothers establish maternity over a child by giving birth. Fathers must take a few extra steps. Generally, paternity should be established by signing the birth certificate and being present at the birth. Failing that, fathers may request a DNA paternity test.

Ideally, you should seek a paternity test as soon as possible to demonstrate a commitment to raising the child. What happens if you do not know of your child? The courts generally have little sympathy for this situation and have held, despite the father being unaware of the birth, that the father loses parental rights because he did not demonstrate a commitment to rearing the child. So if you are an unmarried father, then it is in probably in your best interests to establish paternity as soon as possible.

Once a father acknowledges paternity, he must demonstrate a commitment to raising the child. This runs the entire gamut of raising a baby, from providing financial needs to meeting emotional needs. The way a father proves this is with evidence of commitment; paying for medical bills, paperwork acknowledging he is authorized to pick the child up from school and pictures. Basically, you should submit any evidence that demonstrates an ongoing and committed relationship with your child.

If you are trying to establish parental rights over your child, then you may want to speak to an attorney. Filing an action to establish paternity can become very complicated depending upon your situation. So it may be best to speak to someone who is knowledgeable before taking legal action.


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