Unwed Fathers Rights
Marriage does not define a father’s rights. Unwed fathers have rights, too; they just need to exercise those rights.
Recent news about Utah fathers rights indicated the state has made the process easier for fathers to exercise their rights. This has brought to light the fact that unwed fathers in other states still experience difficulty in protecting their rights. Other steps are required in addition to fathers filing with the state’s putative father registry.
Michigan Divorce Lawyer Jill Duffy stresses that the biological father is not presumed when a child is born out of wedlock. A father will not have rights to his child until he establishes that he is, in fact, the biological father.
Utah’s Department of Health have made the paternity proceeding form and instructions on how to file with Utah’s putative father registry available on the website of the Office of Vital Records and Statistics. In Utah, fathers are required to file with the state to ensure that they are notified prior to the adoption of their biological child. This simplification of the filing is a step in the right direction for Utah fathers.
The MensRights.com article “Paternity Struggles” indicates that the best way to establish paternity is to get your name on the birth certificate. If a father does not do so, he has 15 days to establish that he is the biological father. This is done by registering with the putative father registry or starting an action to establish paternity. If he doesn’t, he runs the risk of forfeiting his parental rights if adoption proceedings take place.
In some states, the law requires each parent to sign an Affidavit to Establish Paternity. This affidavit can be filled out and sent in to the Vital Records Office either at the time of birth or shortly thereafter.
If you are a father who was denied the right to fill out such a form on the date your child was born, you should contact your state’s Department of Records to obtain information on how to complete the form on your own.
By Tara Brewer
Special to MensRights.com
The divorce lawyers for men at Cordell and Cordell handle many domestic litigation issues, including paternity. Contact the Cordell & Cordell office nearest you or learn more information about paternity laws on DadsDivorce.com.