Each family is formed in its own, unique way. We understand that parents need not be married to each other to parent their children well. However, some folks are surprised to learn that an unmarried father or non-birthing parent is not automatically granted legal custody or physical placement solely by virtue of being named on a child’s birth certificate.

A legal action is required to establish those rights, whether or not the parents share a household. Similarly, child support may not be ordered absent steps taken by a parent to initiate court involvement.

A paternity action can protect a non-birthing parent’s ability to play a consistent, meaningful role in a child’s life. In other words, a paternity action can preserve a non-birthing parent's right to be a parent to their child. Through a paternity action, the birthing parent can also secure a clearer allocation of coparenting responsibilities. Critically, your child can be better protected through court orders that establish paternity and delineate the non-birthing parent’s legal rights, whether or not you and your coparent remain together.