Your rights could be threatened if a petition is filed for child custody and you are not prepared. To maintain your rights, you will need to demonstrate to the Family Court that you are a capable and well-suited parent.
To do this effectively, you must understand the criteria used to determine child custody and how to collect solid evidence that supports your case. To learn more about how to prepare for a child custody case, read the Evidence Gathering Essentials or grab your copy of Evidence Strategies for Child Custody.
If Paternity is Contested
If your name is not currently on the child’s birth certificate, you can establish your paternity/parentage and protect your rights by signing and submitting a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form, also known as, an official Declaration of Paternity, or Affidavit Of Parentage.
If the unwed mother contests your paternity, you will need to File a Court Order for Parentage. State laws vary, but once you’ve filed this order, your paternity will be determined by the court via a hearing or after genetic testing results are available.
Responsibilities of a Parent