Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Portland Family Lawyer Protecting Parental Rights

Photo of a father and child
When a child is born to a married couple, there is a presumption that the husband is the legal father of the child. Unmarried fathers have the same set of rights as married fathers if they secure their legal parentage correctly. Legal parentage is not automatic for unmarried fathers as it is for married fathers. To secure your rights and to access to your child, you will first need to establish legal paternity. Our Portland family attorney has experience working with fathers to ensure they are able to secure their full rights to children under law.

What Should I Do To Establish Paternity?

The simplest way to establish paternity for an unmarried father is to execute a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) when the baby is born. This form must be signed by both the mother and father and filed to constitute an establishment of paternity. If both parents do not agree on paternity, if the father has doubts as to paternity or if the mother does not agree to sign the VAP, the father has the option to establish paternity through court proceedings. Ronald A. Johnston, our Portland family attorney, can help you determine what steps to take next to determine paternity between you and the child.

Why is Establishing Paternity Important?

If you currently have a good relationship with your child’s mother, it may seem that establishing paternity is not a pressing concern. However, if you did not execute a VAP, until you have been established as your child’s legal father in a court of law, you have limited legal recourse if the mother suddenly decides to deny you access to your child. It may take a few weeks to establish legal paternity in court, and during that time, you may or may not have access to your child. Unmarried fathers are wise to establish paternity as soon as possible after the child’s birth.

You must legally establish paternity to be considered in:

If legal paternity is not established by a VAP or court order, the mother may move out of state or to a different country with the child. If paternity is established prior to the move, the court can stop the mother from taking the child away from the father. If legal paternity is not established and the mother decides to move to another state, the father may be forced to file a paternity lawsuit in the new state to gain access to his child. Avoid this by securing your legal rights as soon as possible.

Contact Us Today For More Information About Your Rights

Ronald Johnston advocates for parents’ rights in family law matters, and he will always put the best interests of your child first. Portland family lawyer Ronald Allen Johnston has worked with many parents over the years, and knows from experience that unmarried parents generally benefit from having a paternity order in place at one time or another. He encourages unmarried fathers establish legal paternity to preserve their rights to their child. To learn about how filing for legal paternity could benefit you call us at: (503) 226-7986.

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