A Father’s Paternity Rights Explained

According to a Pew Research Center study on the rise of new family types, 41 percent of children today are born to unwed parents. This means many unwed parents are dealing with legal issues like visitation rights, custody, child support, and more. Courts presume that children benefit from having strong relationships with both parents, so unwed fathers should know their paternity rights if they want to be involved in their child’s life.

Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity is one of the first steps for an unwed father to be able to claim any rights he may have in relation to his child. This usually happens after the child is born and must be done through a specific process in order for it to be legally recognized by the court. Paternity can be established by signing an acknowledgment of paternity form, signing a birth certificate, or by DNA testing (if there is any question about who the child’s biological father might be).

Parenting Agreements

Once a father establishes paternity, he can pursue his paternity rights to visitation or custody of the child. This may be detailed in a legal parenting agreement or parenting plan. In this document, the biological parents specify when the child will visit each parent, as well as giving details about who has the authority to make decisions about the child’s education or healthcare.

Custody and Child Support

Custody and visitation rights vary depending on the father’s circumstances. A father who has a history of violence, drug problems, or prison time may have limited rights. Regardless of rights, unwed fathers will be obligated by law to provide financial aid in the form of child support.

Learn More Today

If you’re looking to learn more about a father’s paternity rights, Burton Law Firm can help. Contact us today to learn more about our experience with paternity law. We can help you establish and protect your rights as a father. Don’t hesitate to get in touch regarding your paternity disputes or if you have any other questions about paternity rights.

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