What Rights Do Unmarried Fathers Have?
Put simply, unmarried fathers do not have any legal rights to their children
unless they take deliberate measures to establish paternity. When a child
is born to married couple, the mother’s husband is assumed to be
the father without requiring him to produce any evidence or take any initiative
to claim the child as his own. However, when a child is born out of wedlock
to an unmarried couple, there is no such assumption of paternity, even
if the couple in question has been living together for some time or has
other children together.
This can cause problems in the event of a break-up. Without having established
paternity through a DNA test or by signing a child’s birth certificate,
an unwed father does not have any legal right to demand
child custody, visitation, or any say in decisions about his child’s well-being,
even if he is confident that the child in question is his own. While this
may provide relief for fathers seeking to evade financial responsibility
for their children, it can be detrimental to the relationship between
parent and child and leave involved fathers without any legal recourse.
If you are an unmarried father seeking to establish paternity and secure
your parental rights to your child, you can do so by completing a Certificate
of Parentage (required by the state of New Jersey) and signing your child’s
birth certificate soon after they are born, naming yourself as the father.
In some cases, this may require DNA testing and cooperation between both parents.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity in New Jersey
In addition to allowing you to fight for visitation, custody, and shared
parenting time in the event of a split, establishing paternity can also
help you create a more stable life for your child. Once you are named
as their legal parent, your child will have access to your Social Security,
insurance, and/or veterans’ benefits (if applicable).
If you are seeking to establish paternity, one of the best things you can
do is get in touch with a family lawyer in Monmouth County as soon as possible.
Divorce Attorney Serving Parents & Couples in Monmouth County
At the Law Office of August J. Landi, I provide personalized legal service
for all my clients. Having access to a high level of attention and support
is one of the unique benefits of working with a small firm, and it can
make a huge difference during your case by providing you with peace of
mind and confidence as you move throughout the process. I do everything
possible to make sure clients are never left in the dark and always kept
in the loop regarding developments in their cases. If you are going through
a divorce or separation or splitting up with someone who is a long-time
partner or co-parent, make me your Monmouth County divorce lawyer.
Call my office at (732) 823-0022 or send me a message
to schedule your free, confidential case review today.