Becoming a parent is one of life’s many joys. You may have waited for this day for years, or you could just have found out you were expecting recently. No matter the situation, you want to be part of your child’s life and have the right to see him or her.
As a father or alleged father of a child, you could be facing paternity issues that you need to put behind you as quickly as possible. Paternity issues are most likely to arise when a man and woman haven’t been married during the birth of a child, but it’s also possible for married couples to struggle with paternity issues as well.
The first thing you have to do when your child is born is to establish paternity. If you’re married at the time of the birth, then it’s assumed that you’re the biological father. If not, you can file paperwork voluntarily or provide a DNA test to prove differently. If you aren’t married to the mother at the time of the birth, then you will need to claim your right to paternity with either an agreement signed by the child’s mother and yourself or with a DNA test. Mothers can also request paternity enforcement, which could require a man to provide DNA to test to see if he’s the father of a child.
Once paternity is proven, you can be put on your child’s birth certificate. When your name is on the birth certificate, you automatically assume all parental rights for your child. Those rights include visitation, custody and the right to participate in decisions that will affect your child’s life. Our website has more information on the process to obtain paternity rights.