Out of Wedlock Fathers’ Rights

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out of wedlock fathers

Child Born Out of Wedlock Fathers’ Rights

A biological father can have his name omitted from the child’s birth certificate of his own volition, purposely by either party or due to an array of legal reasons. The rights of a paternity parent can be affected by the presence or absence of his name on the child’s birth certificate. As a result, a father with his name and signature on his child’s birth certificate has remarkably more rights on various parental aspects compared to another dad with a missing signature and name. Yet a father may have questions concerning his legal rights because he hasn’t been established legally as the biological father on the presented legal documents.

What rights does a father have if he is not on the birth certificate?

The legal document lists the father as unknown, someone else or blank space if the father’s name is omitted for whichever reasons. According to the law, however, the father is deprived of all the legal rights to the involved child if his name doesn’t appear on the birth certificate even if he is the child’s biological father. As a result, the father has no rights to visitation, paying child support, or custody.

Establishing paternity is the best way for a father whose name isn’t listed on the child’s birth certificate to acquire legal rights. This task, however, can be easy or difficult depending on an array of other situations such as the father’s relationship with the partner (the child’s mother). The father may as well request a DNA test to establish paternity. Once paternity is established, all legal rights may be restored.

If the father is on the birth certificate what rights does he have?

A father acknowledges he is the biological father of the child when he signs the child’s birth certificate and hence, takes all the legal responsibilities regarding the child. Unless the paternity is challenged or revoked whatsoever, the father gains legal rights for the child as follows:

  1.      Right to child support

The father whose name and signature assumes child support rights which includes but are not limited to the provision of food and all nutritional requirement, healthcare, schooling necessities, and general upkeep. The father’s income may be reviewed by the court in the event the father establishes paternity through the court or DNA tests.

  1.      Right to visitation

The right to visitation is the most contested right for unmarried or divorced fathers. The father is granted the right to visit the child provided his name appears on the birth certificate. However, such arising issues as the restraining order can have the right to visitation removed.

  1.      Child custody

The father whose name appears on the child’s birth certificate has the right to assume custody of the child in case it is proved beyond reasonable doubt by the court that the mother is unable to take good care of the child. This right too can be removed in case of a not-so-friendly relationship between the parents in which case the mother may obtain a restraining order against the father.


Just because the father’s name appears on the child’s birth certificate doesn’t mean he will enjoy all the paternal rights indefinitely. The father’s paternity can be challenged by a third party in court, establish paternity and assume the former’s legal rights for the child. Some of the reasons why the father may lose legal rights for the child even if his name and signature are listed on the birth certificate include;

A DNA test may indicate that the purported father, whose name appears on the birth certificate, is not the biological father of the child. In such a case, the illegitimate father loses his legal rights which are duly assumed by the biological father.

If the father whose name appears on the child’s birth certificate is proved to be of unsound mind and as such, being unable to provide proper child support, the legal rights for the child may be transferred to another individual showing interest and found capable of exercising those rights and their responsibilities.