If you think you might be the father of a child, you should treat the birth certificate issue with great care. You might not be prepared for what could happen as you make the decision of whether to add your name to a child's birth certificate. Read on to find out more about paternity and birth certificates.
You Accept Paternity
If you believe you are the father and are being asked to place your name on a birth certificate, you should put things on pause for a moment and make sure you understand the potential consequences. When you allow your name to be placed as the father on the birth certificate, it's as good as admitting paternity. Your name cannot be listed on a birth certificate without your permission and that request should prompt you to ask for a DNA test to verify paternity. You will need to sign an additional document verifying that you agree to be listed as the father
While this situation can be very emotional and tricky to maneuver through, agreeing to paternity without verification could cause you to be responsible for the financial care of the child until they are 18 or even older if they attend college. You should also know that if the biological father of the child is located or comes forward, you may still be obligated to continue to support the child. The way the family court sees it, not doing so could harm the child and the welfare of the child is a high priority.
When You Are Never Given a Chance to Agree to Paternity
In many cases, fathers never knew about the birth of a child or failed to take responsibility for them, and the mother never pursued the matter. However, if the mother attempts to get any sort of government aid, such as food stamps or housing assistance, they will be asked to name the father of the child at that time. The government is reluctant to spend money on the care of a child that might have a father who can provide some of that financial care for the child. Some fathers find out that they are obligated to pay child support in this manner.
When You Want Visitation or Custody
If you decide you want to spend time with your child or even have custody of them, you should be ready to first prove that you are the biological father of the child. Many fathers come forward when they find out they are fathers for the first time after the child is several years old. You should also keep in mind that if another person is already filling that role and providing that support, you will have to convince the judge that you can do a better job of it or that you deserve to spend time with your child.
Paternity issues can be confusing, so speak to a family law attorney for more help.