Paternity Rights + Actions
KNOWING WHERE YOU STAND
Determining a child’s biological father, legally referred to as establishing paternity, is important to ensure that your parental rights are acknowledged. Conversely, if you are not related to a child, but the mother believes you to be the father, paternity actions such as paternity testing can confirm that you have no legal obligation to take care of the child.
Biological Paternity Rights
Whether a couple is married or unmarried at the time the child is born, a biological father’s parental rights include visitation and the ability to make decisions about the child’s upbringing. In situations where the parents are not together when the child is born, fathers often have to fight aggressively to exert their rights, which is why it is important to establish paternity. Until paternity is established, even if you have lived together in the same home as the child’s mother for many years and financially supported the child, you do not have any rights with regards to the child. This means that the child’s mother can move out of state with the child without your knowledge or consent, and you do not have the right to visit.