Parents would want to be part of their child’s growth and development, even if the mother and father’s relationship no longer works. But not all parents inherently possess parental rights and responsibilities.
If you were legally married when your child was born, you automatically have the right to visit and maintain a relationship with your child, even if you are divorced or separated. However, the case is different with unmarried fathers.
Unmarried fathers have to take additional steps
If a child was born outside of wedlock, the law presumes the mother to have custody over them. In this case, the father does not have the right to demand time and visitation, among others. If the father wishes to be part of their child’s life and acquire father’s rights and responsibilities, they have to establish paternity voluntarily.
How can a father establish paternity?
A parent can gain father’s rights and responsibilities by establishing their paternity, which can be done through the following methods:
- Completing and signing the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAoP) form in the presence of a notary public
- Seeking a court order through the assistance of your local child support office
During the process of establishing paternity, the child support agency or the court may request DNA testing to ensure the biological relationship between the child and the father.
Acknowledging paternity has many benefits. Aside from acquiring father’s rights and responsibilities, you can establish your identity with your child, solidifying your relationship with them. There are also medical and financial benefits you and your child can enjoy because of the acknowledgment.