Establish paternity to avoid losing parental rights
Previous posts on this Springfield family law blog have discussed what paternity is and how it may be established. Paternity is the existence of a biological connection between a man and a child that demonstrates that the man is the child’s father. When a man is married to a woman who gives birth or acknowledges that he is a father when a child is born he may also be legally recognized as the child’s dad.
If a man is not legally determined to be a child’s father then he loses many rights to be involved in the child’s life. He may not be able to get custody or visitation time with the child, and his child may not be considered an heir should the man pass away. However, failing to be legally recognized as a child’s father can have even bigger implications if the child’s mother decides that she does not want to keep the baby.
If a mother wishes to give a child up for adoption she generally must have the consent and agreement of the child’s father. However, if no man is included on the child’s birth certificate and no man acknowledges the birth of his child, the actual father may lose the right to object to the adoption of his child by third parties.
Men who believe that they may have children that they do not know about are encouraged to talk to family law attorneys about what to do to protect their paternal rights. Seeking out children and acknowledging them as the biological offspring of an individual can be an important part of a father protecting his future with his children and the development of their relationship.