Whether or not the parents of a child are married or not, they may proceed to sign a Declaration of Paternity document. The signing of this document allows the child access to all the legal benefits and rights coming through the father and also allows the father the full legal benefits and rights of being the father of the child in the relationship. It is important to note that any male that signs this document is not required to do this but would be considered to have done it voluntarily. Speaking with a Leadville paternity attorney can help you further shed light on this.
The signing of the Declaration of Paternity document usually occurs at the hospital when the baby is birthed. If such a document has been successfully signed, the names of both the mother and father of such a child will be entered into its birth certificate and such concludes all the steps needed for the identification of the child’s father and mother.
While the Declaration of Paternity is purely voluntary, it is possible to sign such a document at a later date and this accommodates for instances where the father is away or is at odds with the mother but has later reconciled and taken up responsibility for the child. When the document is signed at a later date, this does not invalidate the original birth certificate which has been given, however, a new one will have to be re-issued to reflect the latest changes in the form of the addition of the father’s name. There is no telling how easy or difficult this step may be as in some cases, it may require that such parents or an individual take alternate steps based on the rules and guidelines of specific states or the local county the baby was born. The parents may also need to request information from officials through a government agency.
In most states, the child support department is in charge of these procedures and a parent may seek help from a family lawyer if there is any confusion regarding this case.
Signing the Document
When the father has failed to sign the Declaration of Paternity at the birth in the hospital, a public agency such as the public notary must be involved as a witness. These entries in most cases always have accompanying documents and videos explaining what needs to be known for a Declaration of Paternity and how it works. However, after the document has been duly signed, it should be filed with the corresponding state Department of Child Support Service Paternity Opportunity Program for it to take effect. The file, after it has been duly concluded may be used in lieu of court orders which establishes a child’s paternity.
For ease, the document is usually made available in both the English and Spanish languages. There are several samples of the document which can be found online and in the state department offices for those interested. Once the document has been filed with any court involved, the judge presiding over such a case can complete orders for custody in favor of the father and also complete orders relating to visitation and support to ensure that the child’s welfare is well-attended to.
In the event it is needed in the courtroom, the official department may provide a copy of such documents stating the paternity of the child.
Complications and Paternal Rights
When you are choosing to sign the Declaration of paternity, in most cases, it becomes next to impossible to reverse such a decision as it is a voluntary one. Parents who wish to undo this, even after they have been provided with a paternity test result that indicates the child not to be theirs, will be unable to undo this also. The main difficulties encountered when trying to reverse this situation may be based on the specific states where the filing was made. However, a person who has signed this document may remain listed as the father of the child until they are able to successfully remove themselves.
When the true parentage of the child has been revealed and established, each parent that has been listed will be expected to take equal responsibilities over the child, this also means an equal right to custody. In many cases, mothers are given the upper hand when it comes to the primary right to custody. However, in other cases, fathers may be awarded sole custody of the child after they have submitted a valid petition to the court. In the event that obligated support, either from the father or mother, has not been satisfied, the local child support department may enforce a support order through the court on the offending party. In other cases, the offending party may be faced with penalties like fines or jail time if they are found in violation of the orders.
Fines may be as much as $1,000 and jail time could be as high as 5 days.
What is the Declaration of Paternity?
Declaration of Paternity noted as a voluntary document signing means that a person who has voluntarily signed such documents accepts the role of a father to the child. Also, this document grants the father access and the ability to participate in the life of such a child. In some cases, fathers who sign this document play an active role only as financial members and support to the child. However, if a father wishes to take a more active role in the life of the child, he can choose to file a petition initiating visitation rights or a form of custody which has to be agreed upon by the court.
When the form is filled correctly and accepted, the person who has signed the Declaration of Paternity document becomes the father of the child or youth. Before signing such a document, a person may choose to conduct tests such as paternity testing to establish that such a child is indeed his.
In other cases, signing this document absolves the father of proving parentage issues, going through hearings, and allows them all the rights of a father.