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Who can be legally recognized as a child's father?

When a baby is born to parents who aren't married, the baby's father must take specific steps if he wants to legally establish paternity. That, however, isn't the only instance in which paternity can be established. Some facts about establishing paternity might surprise you.

Are all legal fathers biological fathers?

They are not. There are some cases in which a man might be legally considered a child's father even when he isn't the biological father. If a man added his name to the child's birth certificate, he would be considered the presumed father. If a man accepts a child into his home and considers the child his, he might be legally recognized as the child's father.

What is an acknowledged father?

If a man acknowledges that he is a child's father, he is considered an acknowledged father. When this occurs, the man is responsible for paying child support.

If I'm found to be the legal father, can I change that later?

Once fatherhood is established in court, it is very difficult to change. In many cases, removing your name as father would mean that you and the child's mother have to come to a mutual agreement about the matter.

Taking on the responsibility of fatherhood is a big choice that you should carefully consider. Even when a child isn't biologically theirs, some men opt to establish their legal fatherhood just so that they have a legal basis to pursue parenting time and other similar factors. Making sure that you understand how this can affect you is vital since establishing legal fatherhood is almost always a permanent agreement.

Source: FindLaw, "Paternity Suit FAQs," accessed April. 23, 2015

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