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How can an unmarried father establish parental rights?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2016 | Paternity

Establishing paternal rights outside of marriage can be challenging, especially for a biological father. Maternal rights can be established rather easily as a woman gives birth in a Michigan health care facility. However, some mothers might choose to withhold information about the identity of the father. Others might be unsure of the identity. A man who believes that he is the father of a child might face some legal challenges in order to formally establish the relationship, especially if there is contention with the mother.

In the simplest scenario, a mother can agree along with a biological father as both sign a form that affirms the paternity. The paperwork can then be filed with the state. This can be handled right away, but it can also be completed at a later date if necessary. The more challenging scenario for establishing paternity involves a disputed relationship. DNA testing can be requested, and the court system can rule on the relationship after this is completed. An official declaration of paternity allows a parent to seek rights such as visitation or custody. Additionally, establishment of paternity implies a responsibility for supporting the child.

There may be cases in which an unmarried father is unaware of the fact that he has not been listed on his child’s birth certificate. This issue could present problems in connection with actions such as attempting to add a child to a health insurance policy. A father who becomes aware of such a situation might request that the mother amend the birth record. If she is resistant, he might use legal avenues to formalize his rights.

In some contentious cases, formal legal action might not be necessary for obtaining parental rights. An Oakland County paternity lawyer might be able to negotiate an agreement that would achieve the desired outcome without a need to appear before a judge. As each case is different, however, the foregoing should not be construed as legal advice.