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Family law in Louisiana: An unmarried father's rights

In the 21st century, more and more couples are having children without being married. Family law provisions in most states, including Louisiana, make it clear that fathers who have established paternity have rights in these instances, even when the relationships end. One of the most important laws across the United State is that when a child is born to unmarried parents and paternity is not presumed, the father doesn't have any rights when it comes to decision-making for the child, visiting the child or shared custody, so the first order of business is to establish paternity.

Including the father's name on the birth certificate is one way of doing that. If the dad can't be at the hospital to help mom in filling out the birth certificate, he can fill out and file a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form.  If the mother is contesting paternity, the man may need to go through the courts to have paternity established, which will entail a paternity test. The court may order the mother to cooperate regarding the testing should she be hesitant.

If the couple is not together and a man has established he is the father of a child from that relationship, he will have to discuss his custody rights. He has the same rights as those of a parent who was married to his or her partner. He will have to go to court to establish his custodial status.

In any case, the father and mother should try to work together to establish a parenting plan for the best interests of the child. A Louisiana family law lawyer may be able to help a client with this issue as well as other ones, including child support payments. An attorney's guidance in these often complex issues may make the process less stressful for both the client and the child involved.

Source:, "Rights of a Father If He Is Not Married", Wayne Parker, Accessed on May 4, 2018

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