Establishing paternity is important for all parents, but unmarried fathers must understand the specific legal steps they need to take in order to be considered the father of a child. Having paternity established allows unwed fathers to have a say in adoption decisions and also helps them ensure that their children are receiving the support they need.
What Unmarried Fathers Need to Know About Legal Steps for Establishing Paternity: 1. The Chronology of establishing paternity
If the mother is married at the time of the birth of a child, her husband will automatically be listed as the legal father on the child’s birth certificate. This means that the child will be eligible for certain benefits, including Social Security, health and life insurance benefits, inheritance rights, and veteran’s benefits if the father dies before the child turns eighteen.
However, if the mother is not married at the time of the birth of the child, she must prove that her husband is not the child’s legal father in court. This can be done in many ways, including a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form that can be completed by both the biological father and mother or by using genetic testing to identify the child’s biological father.
The father can also challenge the presumption of paternity by requesting that the court or agency order genetic testing. If the father is able to show that the man was a father in some way prior to the child’s birth, the judge may overrule the presumption of paternity and place the father on the child’s birth certificate.
What Unmarried Fathers Should Do to Start a Case for Establishing Paternity: 2. The first step is to complete and submit a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form. This can be filed with the local city or town clerk’s office, RVRS, or in court.
Alternatively, the father can file a Petition to Determine Paternity and for Related Relief. This is usually the best option if the father and mother are unable to come to an agreement about paternity on their own.
Once the paternity is established, the father will have all of the same rights and responsibilities as a parent who is married. These include a right to custody and visitation of the child, as well as support.
If the father is a resident of Wisconsin, then the easiest way to start the process is to complete a Voluntary Acknowledgment form and have it notarized by a notary public. Then, he can send it to the State of Wisconsin’s Office of Vital Records.
This is a simple process that can be done at any time in the child’s life, but it is advisable to do so before the child is born. This can help avoid a lengthy court battle later on if the mother is not agreeable to the father’s paternity.
If the father is an out-of-state resident, he should do his best to establish paternity as soon as possible after the child is born. Waiting too long can make it harder to get custody of the child or to have a voice in the adoption decisions. If you need the help of a father’s rights attorney in Miami visit https://www.themiamidivorceattorneys.net/.