On behalf of Tasha K. Schaffner of Schaffner Family Law posted in paternity on Friday, May 20, 2016.
Today, more U.S. couples are cohabiting and deciding to delay or forego marriage. As evidence of this societal shift, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during 2014 alone, more than 40 percent of U.S. births were to single mothers. As it becomes more and more common for unmarried couples to live and have a baby together, unwed fathers are advised to take steps to protect their legal parental rights.
When married, a man is automatically presumed to be the biological father of his wife’s baby. This isn’t, however, the case when a couple isn’t married. Consequently, unwed fathers who fail to establish paternity and subsequently split from a child’s mother have no legal rights to a child and cannot petition for child custody or visitation unless and until paternity is established.
Kentucky fathers who want to establish paternity of a son or daughter have two options:
1)Sign a paternity affidavit – A paternity affidavit is a legal document that must be signed by both a child’s mother and father, attesting to the fact that the father is indeed the child’s biological father.
2)File a paternity case – A paternity case can be filed by a child’s mother or father as well as a man who believes that he may be a child’s father. A blood or DNA test may be requested by the petitioning party.
Fathers, whether married or unmarried, have a right to spend time and form a relationship with a son or daughter. However, unwed fathers who fail to takes steps to establish paternity may jeopardize their chances of subsequently winning favorable custody and visitation terms. An attorney who handles family law issues can answer questions and provide strong legal advocacy to fathers who are facing paternity and custody disputes.