What Rights Do Fathers Have If They Are Not on the Birth Record?

Father holding baby daughter (3-6 months) in living room
A father holding his baby at home. (Image: David Woolley/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

At times a biological father's names may be left off the birth certificate. This can be done purposely by either party or it cannot be added due to legal reasons. The father may then have questions regarding his legal rights for the child, because he has not been established as the father on the legal document.

No Legal Rights

If a father's name is not on the birth certificate, he has no legal rights to the child, according to Law Info. Although he may be the biological father, he is not the legal father because his name has been omitted from the legal document. The legal document may list the father as someone else, unknown, or left blank. Because the father is not listed on the birth certificate he has no rights to custody, visitation, or paying child support.

Establishing Paternity

The best way for a father not listed on a birth certificate to gain legal rights is to establish paternity. This means that the father is acknowledging that he is the father of the child and will take legal responsibility for the child. This can be an easy or hard task, depending on other situations, such as the relationship with the mother. In most states, the father can sign an affidavit of paternity. This acknowledges that the father believes that the child is his and would like to establish himself as the father, and take on the legal rights and responsibilities that it entails. The father may also request a DNA test that would establish paternity if the mother refuses to sign the affidavit of paternity.

Custody And Visitation After Paternity Establish

After paternity is established, the father has legal rights to the child. He can work out visitation and custody with or without a court. If he has trouble seeing the child, court-ordered visitation might be needed. He may also petition the courts for child support if he feels it is in the best interest of the child. With court-ordered visitation the mother must adhere to the rules of the court and allow the father to visit the child. If she does not follow the rules, she may be held in contempt of court.

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