Society is constantly changing, and unlike the previous generations, more people are choosing to delay or forego marriage. A recent report better paints the picture of this societal shift which is slowly becoming a way of life. But, what does it mean for the family unit?
For a married couple, the man is assumed to be the child’s biological father. However, if the couple is not legally married and ends up splitting after the child is born, the father may have no legal rights over the child as the father. It means that you cannot seek visitation or custody rights without first establishing paternity.
You have these two options
The easiest way is for both parents to sign the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form attesting that you are indeed the child’s biological father. The hospital where the mother delivers the baby usually gives the form. Importantly, either of you can request genetic testing if there are any paternity doubts before signing the paternity affidavit.
The other option involves going through the judicial process. A judge will decide your case and might even order DNA testing, which everyone must comply with. If paternity is established, the court will also decide on other aspects of the child, such as custody or support.
Protect your parental rights
As your child’s biological father, you have a right to parenting time. Establishing paternity will help ensure that you are involved in the child’s life and have the right to make decisions surrounding their upbringing. Once you’ve established paternity, you can pursue additional custody or visitation rights. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of the steps to take if you encounter any hurdles along the way, such as facing resistance from the other parent.