Men in Alabama often assume that, since their name appears on the birth certificate of a child, they have the legal rights of a father. But that's not automatically true. Alabama automatically recognizes the husband as father of any child born to a married couple. Unmarried couples must often prove who is the father, generally through DNA tests, to obtain the legal status of father.
Children are then entitled to these benefits through the father:
- Child support
- Health insurance
- Social Security and welfare
- Veteran's benefits
- Inheritance rights
Paternity cases take two different forms: establishing paternity and contesting it. In cases of establishing paternity, the father seeks to prove he is the father and assume rights and responsibilities for the child. In cases of contesting paternity, the mother is suing the alleged father to prove he is the father of the child.
In order for unmarried fathers to have paternity rights and responsibilities for a child, paternity must be legally established.Protecting Your Rights
The Oncale Firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of parents, both mothers and fathers. If you are a father who is in a dispute with your child's mother, you have rights, even if the child was born out of wedlock. There are three ways to establish paternity in Alabama:
- Uncontested consent. The mother and father both agree to the paternity of the child and fill out an acknowledgement of paternity form. Ideally, this form should be offered to every unwed mother when she gives birth.
- Administrative process. The Department of Human Resources orders genetic testing of a child to determine the child's paternity.
- Contested judicial process. This can be used to get genetic testing when the alleged father refuses to acknowledge paternity or when parents are uncooperative with administrative genetic testing.
Once paternity has been established through the assumption of marriage or through an acknowledgement of paternity form, it can be contested through genetic testing. Once a man has established he is not the father of a child, he will lose all paternity rights to that child. If he wishes to restore his rights to the child, it would be necessary for him to adopt the child.DNA Testing
As a father, you have rights that are proportional to your responsibilities for the child. These rights deserve to be protected. The Oncale Firm can protect your rights and help you get past the emotional storms of the present so you can again enjoy the light in your child's eyes.
To learn more about paternity rights and to discuss your case with one of our lawyers, please call 205-458-9805 or contact us today for a free consultation.
Shane Oncale is an experienced paternity rights attorney. Call The Oncale Firm at 205-458-9805 to arrange a free consultation.