When a child is born outside of marriage, it is important to know that only the Mother has legal and custodial rights over that child until a court enters an order of paternity or legitimation. The Father does not have legal and custodial rights, and therefore is not entitled to know the well-being of the minor child, does not have a right to access the child’s medical, education, or other records, and does not have the right to see or contact the child. Despite not having any legal or custodial right of the child, the Father does however have an obligation to support the child and pay child support. Signing the birth certificate at the hospital or any other document that is not a Court Order establishing paternity or legitimation does not give the father any legal or custodial rights. Paternity and legitimation actions establish the Father’s rights to the minor child and can be filed by either parent (a paternity action is filed by the Mother; a legitimation action is filed by the Father). Paternity and legitimation actions address issues of custody, parenting time, legal custody, and child support. The results of these actions can be monumental in importance, thus it’s important to have an attorney in your corner that knows the law and knows your case. Call our office today to speak with Emily Yu to go over your case.