What Rights Do Unmarried Fathers Have?

Fathers who have not married the mother of their child need to establish parental rights by bringing a court action called a paternity action. As part of a paternity action brought in the domestic relations court, parental responsibility and time-sharing will be addressed. That is, how Dad will participate in the decision-making for the child and how often/when will he see/have contact with the child will be agreed upon or decided by the court.

The identity of the father on the birth certificate creates a presumption of paternity. However, this presumption is not conclusive and can be overturned. To establish rights as a father who has not married the mother, you must file a paternity action.

If there is any question as to the identity of a father, a DNA test may be requested. However, if there has been a prior court finding or order that has determined parentage, it is difficult, if not impossible, to overturn this finding. No parent can avoid their financial responsibility to their children. If there is any question as to who the father is, a DNA test is very important before any other action is taken by the courts.