Many father's rights issues arise when fathers are not married to the mother of their child. If you are not married to the child's mother, and want to have any rights to see your child or have a say in his or her life, you need to establish paternity. Under Pennsylvania law, getting to see your child if you are not married to the child's mother can be difficult, because the child is not legally yours. In order to establish visitation, custody, and many other paternal rights, you first need to establish your paternity.
You may not see what difference it makes whether you claim the child as yours or not, but under PA paternity law, establishing paternity is key. Being legally considered a child's father and recognizing that you are the child's father impacts very important rights such as the ability to make decisions for the child and the child's right to inherit your property.
Unmarried fathers have to establish their paternity and show a commitment to raising the child before an Allegheny family court will grant them any parental rights. Even if a man is not sure if the child is his, it is in his best interest to get a DNA test done as soon as any suspicions arise so that paternity can be established. Paternity can be established at any point before or after the child is born. As a Pennsylvania father, it is in your best interest to establish paternity as early in the process as possible so that you can exercise your parental rights from the start.
Failure to establish paternity early, either while the mother is pregnant or soon after the child is born, can prevent an unmarried father from gaining any parental rights at all. Some courts may see waiting some time before establishing paternity as a lack of commitment to care for the child and this would seriously hurt any chances of being granted parental rights.
In the end it is quite simple. If you are a Western PA father that is not married to the mother of your child, but you want to be a part of your child's life, you need to establish paternity. And the sooner you establish paternity, the better. If you have any other questions about father's rights in Florida or about the process of establishing paternity in Allegheny County, contact our Pittsburgh paternity lawyers at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates.