Under federal law, every state is required to develop a program for unmarried parents to voluntarily establish paternity. Unwed parents may establish paternity for their child at the hospital at the time of birth or even after.
To help you with the process, the hospital staff will provide oral and written information explaining parents’ rights and responsibilities, their alternatives to acknowledging paternity and the legal consequences. They hospital will also provide the acknowledgment of paternity form (AOP) and assist you parents with the completing the form.
Establishing paternity is important! Paternity establishment provides a legal father for your child and is the critical first step in ensuring the father is in your child’s life. If paternity isn’t legally established, your the child may not receive financial support from both parents. But when paternity is established, your a child can get economic benefits such as social security, veteran’s benefits, health insurance and inheritance rights. Your The child also benefits by having the advantage of knowing both parents and a sense of family heritage. In addition, your the child will have information about the father’s family medical history that could be necessary in the future.
The father also has a lot to gain by legally establishing paternity. For example, the father can ask for visitation and custody. And it’s an easy way for him to have his name on the child’s birth certificate.
You will be given both oral and written information about paternity before you sign an acknowledgment form and the rights & responsibilities. By signing, you will sign to indicate that you have read and understand the legal consequences. The form must be signed by the mother and father and notarized before the father can be considered the legal father. Parents must provide photo identification before the form can be notarized by the hospitals’ birth registrars.
Remember, having a baby is a pretty overwhelming situation, so even simple tasks can seem difficult. But for the dad’s information to go on the original birth certificate, you will need to complete the AOP form before the birth certificate leaves the hospital. The hospital can only keep the birth record for a short period of time. If you both are at the hospital, it’s easier to do it now. You can still add the father’s name later, but there is a fee to do so.
So you can see, it just makes sense to “add the dad” do it at in the hospital, and it is important to not to sign anything until the birth registrar is present. The birth registrar must watch each parent sign the form. They will be able to answer any questions you may have about this process.