To establish paternity for custody and visitation purposes, an unmarried man who alleges to be the biological father of a child must assert a claim of paternity if he is denied such rights by the mother.  Otherwise, his child might be given up to adoption without his knowledge or consent.

The easier way to establish your paternity is by signing an affidavit, with the child’s mother, in the hospital where the child was born.  However, in cases when that is not possible, a paternity claim will be the appropriate court procedure by which an unmarried father can protect his parenting rights of his child born out of wedlock.  Why would any man want to do this?  Believe it or not there are many men who want to establish a paternal-child relationship, and become a participant in their child’s life.

Frequently, many men discover a desire to become more involved in their child’s life, after their child is born. With this new awareness, more men want to become involved in their child’s upbringing.

A man is only presumed to be a biological father if the minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother. The unmarried man who wants to claim paternity of his child does not have the benefit of this presumption.  There is a way to leverage this.

Many states now have a Putative Father Registry.  The unmarried biological father who wants to establish paternity to preserve his custody and visitation rights can file a form in this office, usually a subdivision of the Office of Vital Statistics.  The form must indicate the child’s name, date and place of birth, and the mother’s maiden name.  This information is critical to linking the Claim of Paternity with an actual child.  You can get this form at the Registry’s office, but you must sign it under oath before a notary public.

This registry also may expedite adoptions of children whose biological fathers are unwilling to assume responsibility of their child.  Adoption agencies are now required to look in this registry as part of the adoption process.  If your name is there in relation to a particular’s child mother, she won’t be able to put the child up for adoption unless you give your consent.

If an unmarried biological father fails to take this action he may lose his parental rights entirely.  To be enforced, this form must be filed before the mother files a termination of parental rights petition.

Discover how Custody X Change can help unmarried parents with child custody and find out more about paternity and child custody.

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