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Are you the legally recognized father of your child?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2022 | Father's rights & paternity

In most instances, fathers are not automatically recognized as legal parents if a child is born outside of marriage — at least in the eyes of the law. If you do not establish paternity, the mother remains the sole legal guardian and custodial parent of the child.

Therefore, it may be necessary to establish paternity. It will secure your place in your children’s lives and protect your parental rights. Establishing paternity will also give your child a sense of identity and help avoid unnecessary back and forth in a divorce.

How do you establish paternity?

In Kentucky, there are two ways an unmarried couple can establish paternity:

The easiest way of establishing paternity is by signing the VAP. Both the mother and father must sign the form, agreeing that they are the legal and biological parents of the child. When you sign the VAP form, you become the legally recognized father with equal rights with the mother. Otherwise, you can bring a paternity action in court. Here, a judge will hear and determine the case. Genetic testing can help settle the matter if the parties cannot agree on the father.

Do not take any chances

Assuming that you are the legally recognized father of your child can be a wrong move if you are not married to the mother. Remember, the court cannot include you in a parenting plan unless you establish that you are the children’s legal father, and you could lose the right to support and be there for them. Having experienced legal guidance can help you protect your rights.