While it might be easy to know who the mother of a child is, determining paternity can be challenging. Sometimes the court must decide this.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 25% of all men in the United States have at least one biological child. Those who are not biological fathers sometimes want custody. They must establish paternity to prove they are legal fathers.
Without establishing paternity, a father cannot get custody of a child. There are several ways to establish paternity.
1. A presumed father
You are a presumed father until the court either establishes or rebuts your status. The court will determine you are the presumed father if your name is on the child’s birth certificate. The same is true if you are in either a legal or common law marriage with the child’s mother when the child is born or within 300 days of the child’s birth. If you acted like the child was your own, you are the child’s presumed father.
2. An acknowledged father
Often, fathers show up at the hospital when a child is born. They then sign the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity.
3. A stepfather
A Stepfather can also get custody of a stepchild if he has been in a marriage with the child’s mother for at least five years. The child must be at least 12 years old and want to live with a stepfather who can care for that child.
The father should strive for a good relationship with the child’s mother. The more peaceful the relationship, the better things will go.