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Are Your Rights as a Father at Risk?


Shotgun weddings are not as prevalent as they once were. Much of the stigma attached to out-of-wedlock childbirth has faded, and this is leading many couples to allow life to unfold as it happens as opposed to forcing life events in line with the more carefully planned marriage-and-then-kids sequence. This shift has resulted in many positive changes, especially with respect to not rushing couples through a wedding and adjustment to married life while they are planning for the arrival of their first child and adjusting to becoming parents. Unfortunately, this change isn't without negative repercussions for father's rights, upon which firms like Cordell & Cordell focus.

Presumption of Paternity

The law hasn't completely caught up with the times, and having children out of wedlock puts many fathers at risk, even when they subsequently marry the mother of their children. Fathers who are not married to the mothers of their children at the time of their children's birth do not have a presumption of paternity, a concept with which Cordell & Cordell law professionals are all too familiar. Anywhere in the United States, if a woman gives birth while married to a man, the man to whom she is married is the presumed father of the child.

Risk of Unestablished Paternity

Without established paternity, a father does not have legal rights to his child, especially with regard to visitation, shared custody or decision-making authority. The establishment of paternity is sometimes overlooked in cases where a father is not married to his child's mother at the time of the child's birth but then subsequently marries her. If overlooked, the establishment of paternity has to happen before a father can seek equivalent rights to the child as the child's mother has.

Hopefully, as these situations come more and more to the forefront, fathers will make sure to establish paternity at the time of their children's birth by putting their names on the children's birth certificates, giving them the rights they deserve with respect to their children without extra steps.

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