When a man is not married to a woman with whom he is in a relationship, and the woman gives birth, the man is not automatically presumed to be the child’s father. An unmarried father will either need to acknowledge the child as his own, together with the mother, or request the child’s parentage to be determined through the court.
A man who is in fact married to a mother when she gives birth will be legally presumed to be the father of the child. A man who was married to the mother and whose marriage ended within 300 days of the child’s birth is also presumed to be the father if the marriage ended due to the man’s death or through a divorce.
If there is a dispute regarding the parentage of a child, the parties may file a motion with the court having jurisdiction. The court will then order genetic testing be conducted on the child and the man. The court may order that the party agrees to pay all of the costs of the testing. If the test demonstrates that the man is the father of the child, the court can then declare the man’s paternity of the child.
A man must establish his paternity of a child in order to assert his custody and access rights for the child. If the child’s mother disputes a father’s paternity, he may then make an application to the court in order to obtain genetic testing. The court would then order that testing be performed on both the child as well as the man, despite any objections to testing by the mother. Men who want to establish their paternity and then to assert their rights as a father may want to get the help of a family law lawyer.