Nuclear families are becoming a thing of the past. Unmarried couples now account for almost half of the births in the United States. This trend could continue for the next few years. This can often leave an unwed father with many questions about his legal options.
You Must Establish the Child’s Paternity
Most couples know the paternity of their child. In cases of doubt, the presumptive father can request a paternity test. This test will establish if he is the father of the child. If there are no paternity rights, the unmarried father does not have any legal claims to the child.
How to Secure Paternal Rights?
The first step is to list the father’s name on the birth certificate. This is usually done at the hospital. If there is a problem, the father can fill out a “voluntary acknowledgment of paternity” form. This legal form assigns the responsibilities of the child to the father. There is a chance that the mother will contest this claim. When that happens, the father needs to file a petition with the courts. The courts can order a paternity test on the child.
Custody Rights Petition
The father can be granted custody rights when the child’s paternity is established. Some complications can occur when the child does not live in the same residence as the father. The father can petition the court for joint or sole custody of the child. Courts will often rule in favor of the mother on custody issues. A family law attorney can help you with your legal options.
Collecting Child Support
Fathers are financially responsible for their child. Financial responsibility does not depend on custody status. The courts will determine the amount of child support based on each individual case. Child support must be paid to the parent with custodial rights. Failure to do so can cause legal implications. Paternal rights can be dissolved through the courts. This ruling will abolish any responsibilities and rights to the child.
If you need child support attorney Orlando FL, there are options for you. An attorney can help you to secure support for your child.