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If you are not married, and were, or are, in a relationship with a person who is pregnant with your child, you can secure your parental rights! When pregnant either mom or dad can file a ‘paternity action‘ to establish the father and address custody, visitation & support.

Specifically, a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship is filed and served on the other party.  Both parents will go to mediation and then to trial to formalize a parenting schedule once the child is born.

Establishing the father can also be accomplished by voluntarily signing a Declaration of Paternity and filing this with Child Support Services.  However, this will not address Custody & Visitation which would have to be specified in the Family Court.

When dealing with the unborn child, reimbursement of pregnancy and birth expenses may be a factor.  Once the child is born, child support plus half the uninsured health-care costs as well as 1/2 child care costs may need to be calculated.

If you have questions about child support, custody & visitation, please consult with one of our experienced Family Law Attorneys who can advise you and explain your options.  In addition, our Flat Fees make it affordable.  We can be reached at 1-800-HELP-444 (1-800-435-7444) or visit our website .

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  1. My daughter is pregnant and due in sept. The baby daddy wants her to sign papers so that he does not have to pay or have any rights to this baby. Yet his friends have been harassing her to have an abortion which she would never do. Can he sign his rights over like that and never have any responsibility for this child?

    • Sheila:
      No, he cannot! The only time a father can give up the rights to a child is if the child is adopted. It sounds like your daughter needs some legal advice. Please call our offices @ 818-246-0073 Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 8:00 pm to discuss.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop–THE LAW FIRM THAT OFFERS LOW FLAT FEES!

    • I have a question , i am 4 months pregnant . The father of the baby and i are not married .. but he doesnt want any rights towards the child when it is born … i do not want to make him so i wanted to see if there is anyway that i could get all rights completely for my unborn child after birth and so later in life father doesnt come back with of change of mind ? Am from
      North Carolina .

      • Rachel:
        I’m not sure what the law is in North Carolina. In California when you have a child and are not married, most would file a ‘paternity action’ which would establish the father legally and address custody, visitation & support. In CA a father cannot give up all rights to the child unless that child is adopted. It would be best for you to seek legal advice from an attorney in your state so you are sure what your legal rights are and what are your options.
        Hope this helps!
        Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  2. My son ex girlfriend is pregnant and wants to put the unborn child for adoption is that possible or my son still have right even that were not sure is his baby!
    We need what can we do!

    • This is a difficult situation. Your son could ask her to voluntarily take a DNA test to determine if the child is his. If she doesn’t wish to do this and he wishes to proceed, he could file a paternity action and ask for a paternity test. If the results of the paternity test show that he is not the father, he would not proceed. If he is the father he would proceed with the paternity action.
      Hope this helps!
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  3. Me and my wife are having a baby….recently things have went bad in are relationship so she wants a divorce….I have asked her if I can be apart of my babys life and she told me no…that I will not know when the baby is born and my name will not go on the birth ceritifcate…I’m scared and nervous that I wont be apart of my childs life…I’m a father who wants to be apart of my childs life….she is 18 weeks pregnant and only been to the doctor once and they said she was probably due around Feburary 14…and told me she wasn’t going back to the doctors or hospital until the baby was born….So I do not even know if the baby has the potential to be born before that….please if anyone can help me please…

    • This is a difficult situation. At this point you can file for divorce and have her served. You would then go to court and address your rights to the unborn child. In effect you will be addressing custody, visitation and support for the child when he/she is born. You may also address other issues. It’s important to note that you have rights which cannot be denied as long as the child is yours and the pregnancy goes to term. If you are in the LA County area, we can help @ 1-800-HELP-444.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop–THE LAW FIRM THAT OFFERS LOW FLAT FEES!

  4. My cousins baby’s mom doesn’t want him to be there in the delivery room when she gives birth. There not married what can he do in order to be there?

    • It would be best for your cousin to file a ‘paternity action’ to establish himself legally as the father. In this process, he would address custody, visitation and support for the child once he/she is born. When he has fatherhood legally established–he may be able to be present for the birth–but this is dependent on a number of factors. It would be best for your cousin to speak with an attorney who can discuss this more fully.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  5. My boyfriend (whom I am having a baby with) is also having a baby with his previous girlfriend. If we move out of state will that affect his chances to gain custody of his other child?
    We will be moving due to job opportunities , we both work and have a stable living environment. I support him getting custody due to her past drug use. She does not have a place to live and has two other children that her mom are caring for. We do not want to move if it will affect his chances. He already is taking parenting classes by his own choice not court ordered. Should we move or stay in the same state as the unborn child?

    • Depending on the circumstances, the dad will have a better chance to have specific visitation with the child if he lives close. You will have to weigh the advantages for a job versus visitation with the child. Be advised, that he can still get visitation with the child if he moves but more than likely it will be less visitation especially when the child is so young.
      Hope this helps!

  6. I am 6months pregnant and left my boyfriend due to verbal abuse and obessivness also has lead me to seek a psychological help due to the relationship and still afraid of my boyfriend even now,what can i do to have full custody of my unborn baby due to fear of my boyfriend being emotionally unstabable.

    • You have some options. If your boyfriend is abusive and threatening you, you may wish to file a restraining order with the intent of stopping this behavior. You can also file a paternity action which would establish the father and address custody & visitation for the unborn child. You can also wait and do this once the child is born. If you wait, you will also address child support. These are choices–a consultation with the lawyer will help you decide which is in your best interest. If you are in California, you may call us for further help @ 818-630-5503.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!


    • Yes, you do have rights. You can file a ‘paternity action’ which would establish you as the father and then you can request custody/visitation rights etc. However, you will not have a hearing until the child is born. By filing this and serving her, you will determine the jurisdiction which will be helpful once there is a hearing.
      If you are in CA, we can help. Call 818-630-5503 to discuss.
      Hope this helps!
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  8. An old friend of mine is currently pregnant and has made the decision to give the baby up, as her and the father are not fit to raise the child and neither of them want it. She has asked my partner and I to “adopt” the baby, stating she would sign over parental rights and wants to make plans of us being in the delivery room, signing birth certificate and all that. Do we need to take certain legal steps in order to even do this? We are unsure of specific documents required, or if this can be done privately at the discretion of the maternal mother?

    • You do have to make formal plans to adopt the child. Often the hospital will facilitate this so you should contact them to see how to do this legally. Hope this helps!

  9. My girlfriend is married to a man in prison but she’s pregnant with my child. Who will be the legal father of that child when its born?

    • Luis:
      If during conception, your girlfriend was not living with her spouse (cohabiting) then the court can determine that the biological father is the father of the child–this could be proven by a DNA test. The question is whether your girlfriend wants to divorce her spouse? If she does then she would file for divorce…she could also file a ‘paternity action’ which would establish you as the father and address custody, visitation and support for the child–this could be done shortly before the birth or when the child is born. You could also file the ‘paternity action’ which would protect your legal rights to the child. Once she is divorced, she could also marry you if that is desired by both parties.

  10. My 6 month pregnant now ex-girlfriend is becoming promiscuous with other guys. Is there anything I can do to stop this? She’s known for not using protection.

    • One option would be to file a Paternity Action with the court which would establish you as the father legally of the child. It would also address custody, visitation and support for the child. In most cases this is done when the child is born–but could be done before the birth. As far as her behavior, I would encourage her to see her doctor regularly to ensure that the pregnancy is healthy one.
      Hope this helps!

      • Thanks for the reply, but I feel she will do what she wants, when she wants without any recourse or responsibility. I’m not sure if she could be held responsible (criminally or civilly) for catching any type of disease and passing it on the the unborn since she had a clean bill of health at the beginning of the pregnancy. Any prior cases like this?

  11. I have a temporary restraining order against my husband for hitting me while 6 months pregnant, (This just happened). What can I do to protect myself and my baby? He is dangerous and I know he will do everything in his power to get some custody of the baby. Can I file for full custody of my unborn child? The baby will be born in 3 months, would it help to file for divorce now? He has old felonys for assaults, I don’t want him to have rights to the baby. What if the divorce doesn’t go through before the baby is born can this affect custody? I will have a restraining order against him when the baby is born so he will not be on the birth certificate how does that impact custody? We’ve only been married for a year and I am very frightened of what will take place when my baby is born.

    • Rebecca:
      When you filed for a restraining order, did you go to a hearing? Normally a hearing would take place after the initial meeting with the judge. In this hearing your spouse would appear and both sides would offer their point of view. If the judge rules that a restraining order is necessary, then it would be in effect for a period of time (normally 3 years) and it could be reinstated for cause. As far as the divorce issue–you can certainly file for divorce and can request supervised visitation or no visitation etc. once the child is born. If you wish to discuss, please call us @ 818-630-5503.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop–THE LAW FIRM THAT OFFERS LOW FLAT FEES!

  12. My girlfriend and i split and just before apparently we got pregnant. we debated having an abortion and she decided to keep him/her. she says that she doesn’t want anything from me but i also researched and found out if she receives any assistance at all (we live in North Carolina) then they’ll come after me. is there anyway we can legally prevent this?
    i know she wouldn’t do that to me, as we’ve been friends for some time. but i also know the state doesn’t care. we’re both 23-25 and she doesn’t want an abortion and i don’t want her to have one if she doesn’t want to.

    • Raphael:
      The laws with regard to paternity may differ from state to state. We practice only in CA. It’s best that you speak with an attorney in your state to find out what the laws are in North Carolina. I believe that in all states you cannot give up rights to your child unless the child is adopted. It is usually the case that if the mom goes on public assistance they will try to locate the father to reimburse the state. Again, it’s best that you confirm this with an attorney in your state.
      Hope this helps!

  13. I have a question. After having sex with a friend one time, I became pregnant. I don’t have any relationship with this guy besides friendship and even that is lacking. He is a nice guy and wants to help out. The question I have is, I was planning on moving to New Jersey before Having my baby and my residence is in New Jersey( i file my incomes taxes in NJ and my drivers license is NJ. I am currently in California and have been for five years due to my military service( now medically retired as of Aug 1, 2018). Unfortunately, due to some complications with my pregnancy I cannot leave until she is born. My doctor said I can leave 2 to 4 weeks after her birth. Even though this gentleman is a nice guy he never brings up any form of support and I don’t want to constantly ask him for support. He’s offering to give me $400 a month but once again I would have to rely on him actually doing that. Also, if I do the child support calculator he would owe me at least three times that amount. If I file for child support can hear partition for me to remain in California? When I originally told him I was moving back to New Jersey to have my baby because I have lots of support there and none here beside him he was very supportive. Now that I mentioned I would preferred to file for child support so I don’t have to ask him for stuff all the time he mentioned he would rather just give me the money because he could then file for rights to have me stay in California. Is that the case? If it is, would it make a difference if I do not have him sign the birth certificate? Should I wait until I physically am living back in New Jersey to that file for child support and paternity? This is all very new to me so I apologize for all the questions and if it may be confusing in the way I’m asking.

    • Michelle:
      If you file for child support through Child Support Services then they will go after the dad for support but it doesn’t happen quickly and can take up to a year+ before you will receive support. If you were to go on public assistance, he would also repay the state for the money you were given. The dad or you can also file a ‘paternity action’ in the family court and address child support there. The dad may also wish to request visitation and the amount of time spent with the child would affect the child support. You could file once you leave…these questions are complicated and you may want to speak with an attorney to discuss your options. If you wish to contact us, we can be reached @ 818-630-5503.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  14. I am 5 months pregnant and not married to who is now my ex and the father of my child . We have had multiple physical altercations and I do not want him around me or my child for our safety. He has threatened to take my child from me. What’s rights does he have and how can I protect my child an I?

    • When you have altercations, it’s always a good idea to call the police. You can also file a restraining order if he threatens you or your baby with harm. Typically, when you have a child and are not married, you can file a ‘paternity action’ which will establish the father. Once the child is born, you can address custody, visitation and support for the child.
      If you are in California and wish to discuss further, please call us @ 818-630-5503.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

    • Prysilla:
      Your friend would have to be determined to be the father legally. This is done by filing a ‘paternity action’ in court which, since the child is not born, would be primarily to establish your friend as the father. The other issues such as custody, visitation & support would be addressed when the child is born. I’m not sure about the doctor visits and whether there would be some legal obligation to require his presence.
      It would be best for your friend to consult with a lawyer in his state so that he understands his legal rights and what is reasonable in his situation.
      Hope this helps!

  15. My friend’s ex-girlfriend is pregnant with his baby. After many intents to have a civile relationship in pro of their unborn baby they ended up in bad terms. She has two other kids of which for the most part he does not agree on how she treats them. She tends to be verbally aggressive and constantly and has violent outbursts threatening her kids. The place where they live is barely cleaned and messy and the environment is very negative for them. He does not want his unborn child to grow on such environment. She has even been accused with DYFS previously by her other exes. What can he do to gain full custody of the baby once is born? Also, would a “Paternity action” filing guarantee the baby carries the father’s last name?

    • David:
      Your friend would need to file a ‘paternity action’ which would establish him as the father and address custody, visitation and support for the baby. It sounds like this will be a fight and I’m not sure how a judge would rule. Some fathers file a ‘paternity action’ before the child is born as it may speed up the process but custody, visitation & support would have to be addressed once the child is born. There may be different rules in different states. If your friend lives in California, we may be able to help. He can call 818-630-5503 to discuss.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  16. My girlfriend is 7 weeks pregnant last night she told me she will leave in a week to Chicago to live .. is there any way I can get her to not leave.. I want to be part of my child’s life .. I’m already a single father with custody of my first child ..

    • Arturo:
      The best thing that you can do now is to file a ‘paternity action’ in court which would establish yourself as the father as long as the child was conceived in the state. This would save time because you can only address custody, visitation & support once the child is born. You can try to persuade her to stay, but ultimately the decision is hers.
      Hope this helps!

  17. What happens in a case where the mother is not in the financial state to support an unborn child and the father wants full custody because he has the means to support the child financially

    • Kim:
      Child support is not a factor until the child is born. The mother would have options regarding healthcare for the pregnancy. If the mother is not cooperative, the father could file a ‘paternity action’ which would establish him as the father legally. Once the child is born, the custody, visitation and support of the child would be addressed. If the parents cannot agree on a parenting schedule, the judge would make a ruling. This information is for California as other states may offer other procedures.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  18. my ex boyfriend and i aren’t together. he seems to think he can take me to court to get joint custody of my baby. i am three months pregnant and all he has done is stress me out to the max. i have a court case open with hyim plenty of police reports and proof of him threatening to kill me and my little sister along with him trying to overdose on tylenol. i want my baby to be safe hes done been involved with gangs and other unnecessary stuff. i want to make sure he wont be able to take my blessing away from me. please help me.

    • Justina:
      Since you are only 3 months pregnant, all he can do is file a ‘paternity action’ that establishes him as the father. Custody, visitation and support is not addressed until the baby is born. As long as you are a responsible mom, you don’t have to worry about him taking your baby. Continue to gather evidence about what he does as well as the police reports. If you are served with anything, it’s best to call us or an attorney to determine your best options. You can also file a restraining order if he is threatening you etc. Again, legal advice is best so you know what to expect etc.
      We can be reached @ 818-630-5503 to discuss further.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  19. My best friend is 7month pregnant and her boyfriend is moving out of state, how can she get support financially for her child?

    • Rebecca:
      Your friend should immediately file a ‘paternity action’ and have him served before he moves as she may have trouble finding him once he leaves. If she resides in CA, she can call us @ 818-630-5503 to discuss further.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  20. I am due in February, and I was trying to take care of a legal custody arrangement before the baby was born. If possible, I wanted to stay out of a trial and settle a compromise through mediation. I was curious if mediation is an option BEFORE the baby is born, or if i have to wait until after the birth?

    • Typically, in California, the mediation with regard to custody, visitation & support takes place when the baby is born. You may wish to file a ‘paternity action’ in the court a few months before your due date in order to assure that you will be able to go to court as soon as possible after the birth. The court can give you an idea as to how long it takes to get a hearing/mediation once the paternity action is filed.
      Hope this helps!
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  21. I have an interesting situation. I’m from AZ. My 16 year old and her boyfriend are having a baby. The boyfriend’s mother thinks that because my husband is on disability, and I have only 1 full time job, and because she is a nurse and her husband owns a car lot selling used cars, she thinks we can’t support her properly. She is trying to get custody over both my daughter and her unborn baby. They do make more money than we do, but we have ALWAYS provided for our daughter. Is there really any way that she can win this?

    • Jessica:
      The laws in each state are not the same. We are located in CA. It’s best that you speak with an attorney in your area to determine what is your best option.
      Hope this helps!

  22. I am currently in a situation that isn’t supportive and becoming toxic. I am 34 weeks pregnant. We just moved to Michigan and my husband has become unstable and aggressive at home. I am wondering if I can leave the state now to deliver in Texas with my family just for the support or if that would be considered kidnapping child from the father? Would this be legal for me to just leave the state? Also if It came to a divorce later down the line, which state custody laws would apply? Texas or Michigan?
    I am a Michigan residence and have lived here for about a month.
    My baby is due Dec 25 and we are active duty Military until Dec 17th. Does this change anything?

    • Lena:
      It’s really important that you get some legal advice in Michigan regarding your legal rights and what you can and cannot do. We are in CA and as such cannot advise you as your state may have different laws than we have here. If you are active military, you can also speak with the legal counselors on the base.
      Hope this helps!

  23. I was in a relationship with a narcissist. Of course that is my opinion bc he refused to get help . But over the course of a year I dealt with a lot of verbal and emotional abuse that at times caused me to defend myself . 6 months into our relationship I found out I was pregnant. There was a false alarm prior to that and his mother and himself told me to have an abortion . In countless arguments I was told to get an abortion when it was confirmed I was actually pregnant. I have a 6yo and I had never considered an abortion or ever had a miscarriage before. I thought I was in a healthy relationship until Things starting happening that made me aware I was falling into a trap of being abused and used . I am 30 wks today and my entire pregnancy has been very stressful. I have been depressed and somewhere in btwn trying to manage my emotions .all the while he’s handled me and the relationship very callous and selfish. When i did have a scare about a miscarriage I realized I wanted my baby and I wasn’t going to be pressured into an abortion and I wasn’t going to be ashamed of my situation as with him. I had promised myself that my 2nd pregnancy would be beautiful. But it’s been nothing like that. At times I’ve really hated my choice and then felt bad for feeling that way. Bc who I chose to lay with. He has played on my vulnerabilities and told me to get an abortion almost every other month sent me videos of ppl having abortions in the late term. Break ups and make ups. Very manipulative. Now that we aren’t together he’s acting like he wanted to be a father and that he wants you to be here for his child. But I’ve gone through so much. That I don’t want to be bothered. I really just want to be left alone.he has another child and the mother of that child ran away to get away from him. Being that I already lived on my own .im accessible to him. I sometimes say I don’t have the luxury to run away. If I have fought and overcame so this baby can grow and be strong. Can he manipulate his way into custody when he tormented me over not wanting a child with me ? . It’s like a game to him and I don’t feel he is mentally stable to be a parent . I’m in Ny . How do I win sole custody ?

    • Lila:
      It’s best that you speak with an attorney in your state (we’re in CA) to address your questions. Typically in CA, the mother has custody of the infant unless she is doing something illegal like illegal drugs etc. In effect, if you are a responsible mom then the dad may have visitation once the child is born. If you are married to the dad, you could file for divorce, but if you were not married you would file a ‘paternity action’ which would address custody, visitation & support, again, once the child is born. You do not have to listen to the father or allow him to harass you. Your best defense from this type of person is sound legal advice.

  24. I currently have a friend going through a situation where his now ex-girlfriend let him know she was pregnant but just wanted to let him know that she did not want him around or wanted for him to take part in the child’s life. Also included was the possibility of her aborting the child. My friend offered for him to take care of all expenses until she would give birth but his ex girlfriend refused. She has basically told him to stop calling her etc. But he keeps doing so because he wants to be responsible of the baby. What can he possibly do to be able to be there for his unborn child he just wants to be sure the mother is taking care of herself etc? (State: CALIFORNIA)

    • It would be best for him to speak with a family law attorney to determine his legal rights. At times the father will file a paternity action before the child is born which would establish him as the father legally. As stated in the blog, fathers have rights and may be able to stop adoption proceedings. If he wishes to call us for further discussion, we can be reached @ 818-630-5503.
      Thank you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  25. I am in the middle of a long drawn out divorce, but am also 5 months pregnant by my boyfriend. He is the only reason I am still living in this state. If we broke up, would I be allowed to move out of state?

    • Lynne:
      Your should first look into your divorce and consider if it would be wise to move while you are in the middle of the case–maybe your attorney can advise you about this. With regard to your pregnancy, since you are not married to the father you may wish to file a ‘paternity action’ once the baby is born as this would establish the father and address custody, visitation and support. It’s best to speak with an attorney about both of your issues as there are no easy answers and all are dependent on a number of factors. If you wish to call us to discuss, we can be reached @ 818-630-5503.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

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