When a woman is pregnant, and the parties are not married, the father may file a ‘paternity action’ in the court. This would establish himself as the father legally. This may be done before the child is born with the goal of making the initial phase of filing a little faster. However, once the child is born, the remaining issues of child custody/visitation and support would be addressed.
Alternatively,the father can also sign a ‘voluntary declaration of paternity’ which is a governmental form that would be signed voluntarily by both parents. However, a ‘paternity action’ will still need to be filed to establish parental rights.
The problem occurs when the mother does not wish to have the father’s involvement. The mother may also deny the paternity in which case a paternity test can be requested once the child is born. This would be done through the court procedure.
If the mother does not wish to validate paternity before the child is born or allow the father to be present for doctor visits or the birth, she has the right to do so. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) supports the privacy of health records & treatment for the mother. However, the state would step in if it was determined that there was drug or alcohol usage during the pregnancy. In addition, if the mother wished to put the child up for adoption the legally established father could have recourse and file a complaint with the court.
When you have questions about paternity as well as child custody, visitation & support, call Legal Action Workshop @ 1-800-HELP-444. Our experienced Family Law attorneys can answer your questions and protect your legal rights.