There are few greater joys in life than getting to watch one’s child grow up. Alabama parents typically want to do everything within their power to make sure they are always there for their children throughout all of life’s moments. For some fathers, this means taking the important step of establishing paternity.
Why bother with paternity?
Fathers have few rights without paternity. In the absence of established paternity, a father’s access to a child is often left up to the mother, leaving him with little recourse when it comes to involvement in a child’s upbringing or making important decisions. Fathers who have not established paternity are also unable to intervene with an adoption, and may ultimately lose access to his child forever. With established paternity, a father can:
- Gain visitation rights
- Share custody
- Be involved in decision-making
How to establish paternity
Paternity can be established either voluntarily or involuntarily. An unmarried father may voluntarily establish paternity by signing a legitimation form or voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. An example of involuntary paternity is when a mother files a paternity lawsuit, and the putative father is required to take a DNA test.
How paternity is established does not affect the rights that it grants. Fathers with established paternity have more options for being involved in their children’s lives, including through custody and child support orders. Alabama fathers who are eager to protect their rights and be more actively involved in their childrens’ lives may want to consider learning more about the process of establishing paternity and how it can help them meet their parenting goals.