When a child is born to unmarried parents paternity, custody, child support, health care, visitation and other issues are yet to be determined. The parties can agree on these issues but need a court order to have them enforced. If they can’t agree then either party can petition the court to establish rights and obligations.
At the time of birth, in the hospital, the child’s unmarried parents will usually be asked to sign an “Affidavit of Paternity”. This document is a legal document but doesn’t establish custody, child support or visitation among other important subjects. The affidavit is the beginning of a process to allocate responsibilities of the parents for the minor child.
All too often unmarried fathers wait to find out about their legal rights until the child’s mother denies contact with the child. It is important for an unmarried father to establish his rights in order to maintain contact with his child regardless of how he continues to get along with the child’s mother. It is also important for the Mother to have a court order establishing custody, child support, visitation and payment of the health care needs of the child.
At the Law Office of Robert F. Smith, we have experience representing both the Mother and the Father in establishing rights and responsibilities