I’m Not on the Birth Certificate – Now What?

Many men find themselves in a situation where they know that someone is having their baby, but they are trying to say that the baby is with someone else.  Imagine the horror that you might feel if you find out that your name is not going to be on your child’s birth certificate.  Worse yet is finding out that someone else is going to have their name on the birth certificate.  It was not that long ago that a father would basically be told that he had no rights and that he should give up trying.  Thankfully today this is not case and you have legal rights that you can take full advantage of.

Realize Your Rights

Until your name is on the birth certificate, it may be difficult to have rights to your child.  You might experience problems seeing your child or spending time with them unless your child’s mother allows it.  In addition you are not responsible to care for the child.  This means that you should keep copies of checks and documentation of everything that you do for the child during this time.  This way you are not going to end up in a situation where the mom claims that you knew about the child but did nothing to attempt to support the child.

Petition to Establish Paternity

Once you realize that your name is not on the birth certificate, you can file a petition to establish paternity.  This requires you to go to court and explain why you think that the child is yours.  It also requires you to submit to a paternity test. Once the paternity test comes out positive, a petition for custody and visitations can be filed with the court.

Once Paternity is Established

Once you have proof that the child is your child, there are several different things that you can do.  If the mother is stable and taking good care of the child, one option is to petition the courts for joint custody or physical custody.    Another options is to try and get liberal visitation with the child so that you can establish a relationship with him or her.  Click here for tips on what what you should consider before filing for visitations. If the mother is not taking care of the child or if the child is in danger, you can file for sole or full custody.  These cases are hard to win unless there are police reports or child protective services records against the mother.  In some cases when the mother is doing okay but not giving the child the fullest life, you could be awarded joint custody.  Talking with a lawyer or legal specialist that specializes in custody cases is going to give you an idea of the best case scenario for your situation and what steps you need to take to proceed.

Start Offering Support for the Child

Many fathers fight against having to pay child support.  If you go to the court or child support agency and establish child support, before establishing custody or visitation, it is going to show that you are willing to do what is best for your child. This is something that is going to go a long way in the courtroom.  By showing that you are trying to take care of the child on your own, you are showing an initiative to be able to prove that you want what is best for the child.

Be Prepared to Have Your Lifestyle Examined

If the mother is fighting against you seeing the child or having any rights, then be prepared.  Be open and honest about past mistakes so that you can determine how to go about preparing to stand in front of the judge.  Many things might be brought up that the judge may frown upon.  It’s to your benefit to prove that you are a fit parent with a stable living environment and your child(ren) will be in good hands when you in your care.

It’s important to remember that no matter what route you take, custody is not about winning or losing. What matters most is what’s in the best interest of the child and doing your best to make sure the children do not become the victims of a divorce or custody battle.

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