It is a common—albeit somewhat of a stereotype--trope that when a child is born, it is the mother who will have to seek the biological father out and hector him into formally acknowledging legal paternity. However, this does a disservice to the millions of fathers who actively wish to be involved in their children’s lives yet are discouraged or dissuaded from acknowledging paternity or are actively turned away from trying to claim a child as their own. If you want to be involved in your child’s life, but are facing resistance or problems, you do have options you can use to pursue the matter.
What Are My Rights?
In some cases, acknowledging paternity of your child can be very easy. When the baby is born, you and the mother—if you are unmarried—will have the opportunity to complete a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP) form. While there are other opportunities to establish paternity, this is by far the quickest and easiest method if the child’s mother is cooperative with your efforts. It is extremely important to realize, however, that completing a VAP form does not entitle you to any custodial rights regarding nor to any guaranteed parenting time. It establishes a legal parent-child relationship, but it does not make any other guarantees.