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Having a baby out of wedlock? Establish your rights

| Feb 15, 2021 | Paternal Rights |

As a father to an unborn child with a woman to whom you are not married, it’s important that you establish your rights. You may want to have a DNA test to prove that you’re the father of the child, and that’s fine to do. Until you’re sure you’re the father, waiting to take on that role is reasonable.

Knowing this, it’s also important to note that you may need to establish paternity and your parental rights after your child’s birth. One of the things that many men don’t know is that they won’t automatically take on that role when they’re not married. Their child may not even appear to be related to them by name.

Did you know that your child will likely have the mother’s last name after they’re born? When your child is born, a mother has the right to give them the mother’s maiden name. However, that doesn’t have to remain your child’s name.

Did you know you can ask to change your child’s last name?

When you file a petition to determine paternity, you can also ask the judge to change your child’s last name to your own. Traditionally, particularly in cases of married couples, children share their father’s last name. You can ask to give your child your own as well.

Why is changing your child’s last name an important step to take?

There can be questions about whether a child is yours or not if they don’t share your last name. For example, if you establish paternity and set up a custody schedule, you might want to pick your child up at school. If you don’t share the same last name, the school may ask you to prove your relationship to your child (at least the first time). People who aren’t familiar with you may not be sure that you’re related or ask you more questions about your relationship.

It’s reasonable to want to bypass those issues. If you’d like your child to share your last name, it’s possible. Simply ask the court when you establish paternity and seek custody time with your baby.