When you bring a child into this world, even if you are not married to the other parent, there are certain rights and responsibilities that you share. In many states it is hard for the father to establish his rights if he has a child and is not married to the child’s mother. In some cases they are going to have to take quite a few legal steps to get these rights. The law only considers a father to be the father of a child if he is married to the mother. In some states it is required for the father to prove that he is the father before he can have any rights.
Custody Goes to the Mom
The first thing that you need to understand in this situation is that the custody is going to automatically go to the mom. If the mother gives birth at a hospital, she is going to likely have full legal and physical custody of the child in most states. This means that the mom is going to be able to make all of the decisions for the child. The unmarried father usually has to prove his paternity before he can take legal steps to get any of these rights.
The father is going to need to establish paternity in most states. This can be done with the admission of the mother and a signed birth certificates in some states. Other states require blood tests. If the mother does not acknowledge you as the father, then you are going to have to go to court to get the right to test for paternity.
Now That You Have Established Paternity
Once you can legally prove that you are the father of the child through paternity testing, you can ask for custodial rights and visitation.
Paying Child Support
Unmarried fathers are required by law to pay the mothers of their children child support. Even if the couple is living together, in some states they are required to pay child support through the state if they are not married. This is to keep a record for the father’s benefit so that it can not be questioned as to whether or not he supported the child if the couple were to break up. The amount of child support is set up based on the income of the father and whether or not he is paying child support for other children.
All Fathers Have Some Custody Rights
Regardless of what state you live in, typically, fathers have some custody rights (assuming that they have never had charges against them for certain crimes involving children). It is easy to work with the state where you live if you think that a child is yours and is not being acknowledged as yours. There are registries in some states and in others there are offices or bureaus that deal with this. The sad thing about going through the state rather than hiring a private attorney is that it is going to take a long time. In some cases, states are backed up a year or more which means that you are losing significant bonding time with your child while he or she is young.
Finding the Right Lawyer or Family Law Service
If you suspect that you have a child and the mother is not cooperating with you, there are lots of things that you can do legally. The best type of lawyer for you to hire is a family rights lawyer or a family law service. Remember to share all information with your lawyer and to be honest so that you can fight any negative things that happened in your dating relationship with the mother.
Thankfully today it is easier for fathers to get their rights for child custody and visitation. In the past, this was not the case. Many states recognized the issues that this caused for the father and now are working to combat these issues. This means that you have the right to ask for these things and be awarded them so that you can have a stronger relationship with