When a married couple has children, most areas assume that the husband is the child’s father even if he isn’t. When unmarried couples have children, however, paternity must be established soon after the baby is born. Paternity establishment protects father, mother and baby by establishing rights to inheritance, support and visitation.
Getting the Birth Certificate and Naming the Child
In most jurisdictions, one can name their child as they choose. Whether or not parents are married, they do not have to give the child either parent’s last name, and children don’t need to share the father’s last name to be legitimate. The mother does not have to name the child before leaving the hospital though she will be urged to do it. The state provides a birth certificate, which typically doesn’t indicate whether parents are married.
The simplest way to establish paternity is to name him on the birth certificate. Under HHS regulations, all jurisdictions must give unmarried parents a chance to voluntarily establish paternity, either in the hospital or later on. In many areas, as a way to reduce the number of children and mothers on welfare, hospital staff urge the father to sign a paternity acknowledgment. If the father is not present at birth, the mother cannot list his name on the birth certificate. In these situations, the parents must sign a declaration at a later time and add his name to the birth certificate.
Paternity disputes often focus on the father’s obligation to pay support, as well as his custody and visitation rights. A father who refuses to sign a paternity acknowledgment is not absolved of child support responsibilities. In these cases, the state typically goes to court for paternity establishment, regardless of the mother’s wishes. This is done to ease the state’s welfare burden by enforcing the father’s legal responsibilities.
If a man doubts whether he is the father of his partner’s child, he should not sign a paternity acknowledgment before they Visit the Website to consult a family attorney from the Wegmann Law Firm. If he signs the statement, he is legally liable for support, and he is obligated to reimburse the state for aid payments to the mother. A lawyer with Wegmann Law Firm can help men in these situations confirm the paternity of the child in question.