The following comes from our forum user “Legal_Eagle who can be found on http://www.parentnook.com/forum/ (our forum page) it is not meant to be use as legal advice nor do we or the author claim it to be legal advice. It is merely information to be used as needed but before doing so one should ALWAYS consult an Attorney.
Many times on forum sites (legal and others) we see issues in regards to custody, support and, the like. We also seem almost always the people on the forums asking if the man was or is married to Mother or if he signed any birth documents. There is a reason for this. If he are not married to Mother it is not automatic your name goes on birth documents. In fact if the woman happens to be married to another man his name will go as “legal” Father. Until your name is on this document you are NOT the child’s legal Father and therefore ha NO PARENTAL RIGHTS! Below are situations commonly discussed on numerous forum sites. I will inject my views on these and inform you (the reader) of some serious flaws in some of the advice often given to users.
Girlfriend had my child but we broke up:
Until your name appears on birth documents or a court has named you as “Father” you are NOT this child’s Father! In these cases the Father usually does not sign any birth documents and may not know he needs to. What he has done is prevented him from being child’s legal Father. If the now EX Girlfriend chooses to she can keep you from your child or even name another as Father. If you have not signed any documents at hospital you will need to seek paternity testing through courts in effort to get your parental rights. This needs to be done fast as Mom can move with child far away if she chooses until you have been named child’s legal Father. Many states have a punitive Father registry if so do whatever they need to protect your rights as Father.
My child’s Mother is married to another man:
For whatever reason your child’s Mother is married the husband (by default) becomes legal Father. You are best served to seek legal advice before child is born on what to do so your rights are protected. This could be trickier if this is an ongoing affair and Mother has not sought Divorce or told husband of infidelity.
Now I want to dispel some falsehoods I have read. Many forum posters will tell you as an unmarried Father you have no rights! that is wrong! Long as you have signed the proper documents and/or been deemed Father via courts you have rights to visitation, custody and,support (if applicable) I will agree its much harder to get those rights or have them recognized being unmarried but its not as bad as some day. In fact before taking any advice from any forum I suggest you read this http://www.parentnook.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=4189 it should help inform you.
“The above is not legal advice but just advice. Legal advice come from a licensed Attorney in your jurisdiction that you share an Attorney/Client relationship with. My legal status or relationship with the BAR is not an issue here as I am not giving legal advice or claiming to have legal expertise in this area. I choose to keep my status with the BAR (if any at all) to myself. the advice given is NOT legal advice.