Some fathers don’t understand that having a child out of wedlock can lead to issues for them. When you have a child and aren’t married to the mother and haven’t established your legal rights in court, the mother has every opportunity to cut you off from seeing your child. She will obtain custody until you go to court to seek and establish your rights.
Even if you sign the birth certificate, that in itself is not a guarantee of your custody rights. That’s why it’s important to talk to your attorney and head to court to establish paternity and set up a custody schedule, parenting plan and child support.
Why should you establish paternity?
Establishing paternity is beneficial to your child and yourself. Your child has a right to benefit from both parents, so establishing paternity gives them the right to your health and life insurance, inheritances and other financial items like pensions or your Social Security. For yourself, you’ll be able to seek out custody and to establish your right to be in your child’s life.
You can establish paternity by signing the birth certificate, but that in itself is not enough. It’s important to go to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or the local Registrar’s Office to be sure that paperwork is filed, and then you should head to court to ask the judge to recognize your paternity rights and help you set up a schedule of custody for your child. Doing this will help you show that you take your role in your child’s life seriously and are willing to be there from the start.