By Abbi White |September 13, 2018
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.