If you are the father of a child, then you have a right to have your name on the child's birth certificate. However, if the mother of the child is not married to you, this process is not automatic and you have some choice in the matter. By allowing to have your name listed on the birth certificate, you may be held accountable for child support. If you are not listed as the child's father, you may have to prove paternity in another way in order to claim your rights to visitation or custody. Before you make any decisions about placing your name on a child's birth certificate, there are a few things you should know.
A Mother Cannot List Your Name Without Your Approval
If you are not married to the mother of the child when she gives birth, you will have to sign a declaration of paternity in order to be listed on the birth certificate. Even if the mother lists you on the application for the birth certificate, if you do not sign a declaration of paternity, you will not be listed on the birth certificate.
However, this does not mean that you are automatically not required to pay child support for the child. If the mother wishes to pursue child support from you, she can demand a paternity test, at which time the courts can either confirm or deny your paternity. Similarly, if you want to declare paternity at a later date, you will still be able to seek visitation or custody of the child.
You Have a Limited Amount of Time to Contest Paternity
If you are named the father on a birth certificate, either because you were married to the mother or because you filed a declaration of paternity, then you generally have two years to contest your paternity. However, if you were not listed on the birth certificate and wish to declare paternity at a later date, you may be able to legally do so until the child is 18.
Your Name Can Be Added to the Birth Certificate At a Later Date
If it is important to you to have your name on your child's birth certificate, it can be added at a later date once your biological paternity has been established. This usually involves a small refiling fee and simple paperwork.
If you are unsure about whether or not you should be listed on a child's birth certificate, talk to a lawyer like Lois Iannone Attorney at Law about the specific benefits and drawbacks in your case.