Most fathers, especially teen fathers do not understand the legal system especially as it relates father’s rights and to children born when they are not married to the mother. This lack of knowledge can mean a lot of heartache and headache. Dedicate the time and money to establish your rights as a father today. A little money today can save a huge headache later as well as lots of money. Read More
Often fathers are under the impression that because they signed the birth certificate they have their legal rights to their child. By signing the birth certificate the only right you have is to pay child support. The mother is allowed to refuse you seeing your child, refuse to let you have your child for overnight stays, and can prevent any meaningful relationship during the bonding years. Again your only right at this point is to pay child support and take financial care of your child.
How do you establish the rights to raise and be a part of your child’s life? Either get married or file a paternity action with the court. Filing and establishing paternity will cause the court to order time sharing, visitation, and establish the amount of child support. The best time to engage in this conversation is soon after the child is born, especially when you and the mother are getting along. A list of family law forms can be found by clicking this link. Family Law Forms.
If the mother agrees, a joint stipulation for paternity and parenting plan can be filed with the court. After a hearing the judge will issue an order establishing paternity and the parenting plan and it is at this time that you have established your rights as the child’s father.
If you and the mother are not getting along it is highly recommended that you contact a family law attorney to establish your rights. I cannot begin to tell you the number of men that call our office after a break-up, the mother has a new boyfriend, and the new boyfriend is jealous because you have a baby together. The relationship between you and your child is a constant reminder that she was involved with someone else. It is at this time that the mother will start to prevent you from coming over and start refusing you the right to see your child.
As I mentioned before if you were unmarried and have not established paternity you really have not rights and there is nothing you can do except to seek to establish your rights.
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Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice nor as forming an attorney-client relationship or any other form of legal representation. Consult with an attorney at DKN Legal or another attorney of your choice for legal advice.