Children born in wedlock are presumed to be the legitimate child of the mother's husband, and immediately have custodial rights as well as the obligation to financially and emotionally support the child. When children are born out of wedlock, however, the parents must establish paternity through a process called “legitimation” before the father's rights and obligations to the child take effect. Sadly, this comes as a surprise to many men who care for their children since birth, but when the parties break up, suddenly dad finds out he has no rights to his child. Most men think that by virtue of signing a birth certificate, they automatically have custodial rights. However antiquated the term "legitimation" may seem, this is very important for establishing yourself as the child's legal father. Most importantly, you can legitimate your child while you and their mother are still together, so there is no reason to wait until the relationship goes south to find out that you have no legal rights to your child.

If you have a child born out of wedlock and have not married your child's mother, schedule a consultation today to discuss how to secure your rights as your child's father.