Welcoming a new baby is an exciting time for the entire family. Although having children out of wedlock was taboo in the past, it is more and more common for couples to have children without being married. If a couple is married when the baby is born, the law presumes that the husband is the father, and the husband does not have to take extra steps to establish his paternity. However, if the couple is not married when the baby is born, the father may want to consider signing a Recognition of Parentage.
A Recognition of Parentage is a document that the parents can execute that acknowledges the child’s paternity. After both the mother and father sign the Recognition of Parentage, it will then be filed with the state. This establishes the legal relationship between the father and the child. It is important to note that this does not grant the father visitation and does not create an order for child support. Rather, it can serve as an alternative to going to court to establish paternity through genetic testing. After the document has been signed and filed, the father may then file for parenting time or custody of the child, and the mother may file to establish child support. With the Recognition of Parentage in place, the parties are able to skip the portion of the case that would require submitting to a DNA test, which saves time and money. The Recognition of Parentage will also mean the father will be able to add the child to health and dental insurance policies.
Although the Recognition of Parentage can be a useful tool, there are some disadvantages. First, by executing the document, you no longer have the right to require genetic testing or to request a trial to prove paternity. You will also lose the right to have an attorney represent you in court for a paternity action. Revoking Recognition of Parentage can be very complicated. Within the first sixty days following executing the document, it is possible to file another form to revoke it. Although it is possible to revoke it after sixty days and before a year has passed, but this is only available in very limited circumstances. If the mother of the child determines that the man who signed the Recognition is not the biological father, she has six months to revoke the Recognition, but she will need genetic testing to support her claim.