Birth Cetificate and Father Rights....

Updated on January 23, 2013
J.C. asks from Memphis, TN
20 answers

In a nutshell.....My ex-girlfriend lives in Ludington Michigan......I live in Memphis, Tn.......I moved to Ludington and left everything to be with her.....we found out that she was pregnant.....she did a total 360 degree turn on me......and told me that she didn't want to be with me after we talked about getting married in the she is 18 weeks pregnant....I am back in she wants nohing to do with me....she tells me that she won't even let me know when the times comes for her to have our baby...knowing full well that I want to be there for the birth.....anyway.....she tells me that in Ludington Michigan...only one parent signs the birth certificate...because she doesn't want me to be on it.....Is it true that in that state.....only one parent signs the birth certificate?.....I want everything to do with this what type of rights do I have as the father being 750 miles apart from her?......I am at my wits end....I need help in this matter.....she will not even talk to I am basically in the dark about the whole pregnancy....PLEASE....SOMEONE HELP ME WITH SOME ADVICE........!!!!!!!!!

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answers from Chicago on

I had my son in Tx, my name is the only name on the Birth Cert. His father was not there that day, we are not married it was not needed. We filled out paperwork to have it ammended, but something happened because when I went to get a copy his name was NOT added at all. Basically, she is probably correct and if you want to be part of this child's life then get a lawyer and move back to Michigan.

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answers from San Francisco on


Welcome to Mamapedia. I am so sorry you are being left in the dark about your unborn child's birth etc. I suggest calling a lawyer that specializes in paternity rights and can help guide you. You do have rights as a father and even if she doesn't name you on the birth certificate, you can make her get a paternity test and so you can prove the baby is yours. I think it is awesome that you are standing up for your rights and I support you! As far as I know, both parents sign the birth cert. Its not based on state it is state-wide, all parents sign unless it isn't known who the father is. I would get to a lawyer asap. Best wishes~ Hang in there!

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answers from Boston on

Something to think about...

My friend's son was in a similar situation. THe love of his life was pregnant & had a total personality transformation. She left him & moved halfway across the country, back to her home town. He decided he would be a part of their child's life and followed her, bought a house and kept trying.

By a few months after the child was born, she was back to the woman he knew, they got married and have since had another child. For her, pregnancy hormones caused a huge chemical change, resulting in a BIG personality change. He knew there had to be a reason she changed so dramatically and so quickly. He didn't cave to what she wanted yet never got too pushy either.

Not sure if this applies in your situation, but you might want to give it some thought.
Good luck--

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answers from San Francisco on

Check with the state of Michigan and go from there.

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answers from Boston on

Fathers have rights and responsibilities regardless of who signs the birth certificate. Whether she puts your name on it or not, you still have rights if you can prove this is your child. Is it possible that she's putting distance between you because it might not be your child? Be careful about getting too attached to a pregnancy before you know for sure. Speak to an attorney who specializes in family law, and find out how to go about taking action to demand a DNA test when the baby is born. And birth certificates can be amended - you could be added later on. It happens in adoptions anyway, as well as in cases like this. The distance from her is not the issue in parental rights - visitation is more difficult of course, and certainly you can not take a newborn away from its mother and across state lines. You'd probably have to maintain visitation in Michigan. But an older child is something else - and that requires a visitation order. But that's not the issue right now. Good luck.

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answers from Detroit on

I live in MI. If you are not married you will not be on the birth certificate unless you are there and sign it in front of a notary. The child will not take your last name unless you do that. After the birth all you have to do is fill out an affidavit of parentage. She can not fight that, however the child would still not have your name.
A good family lawyer is in your best interest. If you can not afford one you can still fight for your rights on your own-however, being out of state will complicate things for you.
If your ex is not working and planning on getting state aid the state of MI will find you(if they are going to support her they will want you to reimburse them). The state is very passionate about equal parenting rights-but since you moved back to TN you're proposing a multiple state custody dispute
(we've done this too) and it will be much longer and harder.
I know a good lawyer in Memphis, Mi. You can inbox me if you have anymore questions or want his #.

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answers from Dover on

I don't knoe Michigan or Tennessee Laws but I would suggest you check into them. Where was the child conceived (MI or TN)? That could help you have legal standing in TN but otherwise you need to check into MI. See what their laws are and paternal rights when couple are not married. Some states will let you file now while other will require that you wait until the child is born. Start now.

Any chance you could move back to MI so once your child is born you are close by? It would certainly make being involved w/ your child easier on everyone and show the courts you are serious.

Might I also suggest you have a paternity test done. If she doesn't want you involved, she may claim the child is not yours. It could be possible that it isn't. Best for everyone to be sure.

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answers from Chicago on

Michigan has a form you can file called Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity. If you file this form at a courthouse in Michigan then you will be notified if there are proceedings regarding paternity regarding the child. You could ask at the courthouse if there are any other options such as a putitive father registry. This is something that basically says you had sex with so and so and protects your rights regarding the woman putting the baby up for adoption or listing someone else as the father. These are things to do while she is pregnant.

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answers from Chicago on

*make sure you are the father
*she is only 18 weeks, give her a little space for a couple months
*send her 1 letter telling her no matter what, you want to be a part of the child's life....let her know you will contact her in May to talk about how to handle things
*let her know you hope she reconsiders & if she wants to contact you before May, you will take her call

Of course your best bet is to get an attorney. Just make sure this is what you want, it will be a long hard road ahead of you and the mother & the child.
Next time don't have sex with a girl that isn't on birth control & YOU always were a condom.

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answers from Redding on

I'm in California and was the only parent to sign my kid's birth certificates.
Being married made no difference.

I actually did birth certificates for our local hospital and if the parents didn't come back in within the allotted time, the doctor and head of medical records signed because the birth had to be recorded.

You have the right to file with the court to establish paternity. You may have to wait until the baby is born for DNA testing, but if you are found to be the father, you will not only have rights, but responsibilities.

Check with the laws in the county where the baby will likely be born and go from there. If this is your child, unless she has criminal or abusive records to back her up, you should be granted the right to be a part of your child's life whether she likes it or not.

Best wishes.

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answers from Boston on

You have no parental rights while she is pregnant because until the baby is born, you have no way to prove that you are the child's father. They will not let you be present at birth without her permission, and you cannot sign the birth certificate without her permission.

After the baby is born, you can petition the family court in whatever county she lives in to establish paternity. There will be a bunch of papers to fill out, and she will need to be served, then those papers will get returned to court and you'll get a court date. At that court date, they would order that she allow a DNA test to establish paternity.

Once that test comes back, if you are the father, then your legal rights and responsibilities begin. After you are judged by court to be the child's father, there will be another court date to establish custody and child support. Given that you'll be talking about an infant and live far away, it would probably be best to assume that the mother would be the custodial parent and that you would pay child support and have visitation. If you move closer and it's in the best interests of the child for you to me more involved, you can figure that out later.

She's probably pretty freaked out right now. Give her time and space but let her know that you want to support her and be there for your child, with or without a relationship with her. I would check in every now and again but keep it low key and no pressure. She's re-evaluating her life now in light of the fact that everything is changing and is focusing on how she's going to support herself and a child. That's a pretty big deal. You're obviously freaking out too, but she's also the one dealing with the physical, hormonal aspect of pregnancy.

If I were you, I wouldn't plan on any major life changes until the baby is born and you know it's yours. That's a really important factor in this - I'm sure you're sure it's yours but until you have a DNA test, you really don't know. Then if you really are the father, you'll have to figure out whether or not you're going to try to be a parent from really far away or will move closer to your child, even if you no longer have a relationship with your child's mom other than shared parenting. In the meantime, make sure you've got a good job, start saving money, live a clean life, and show that you are good father material.

FWIW, my husband and his daugther's mother broke up when she was pregnant. It was a pretty nasty break up but he was able to be there for the birth after the mother came around to realizing that he wasn't going anywhere. He started sending her money and visiting even before they had a court order in place, then got weekly visitation, etc.. She lived with her mom for 13 years and we actually won custody of her two years ago and she lives with us. You never know how things are going to turn out. So don't freak out - be supportive but not psycho, let her know that you're here for her and the baby without being harassing, and then when the baby is born, file the complaint for paternity and let the court process work.

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answers from San Francisco on

You'll need to file a Petition to Establish Paternity in the proper court in Michigan. You know she is 18 weeks pregnant, so calculate the due date yourself. You'll probably be pretty close. I'm not sure if you can file now while she's pregnant, but even if you do, they won't order the paternity test until the baby is born.

Once you are established as the father, the court will award custody, and determine visitation and child support.

Contact a lawyer in Michigan and start getting your ducks in a row.

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answers from St. Louis on

I don't know but I would bet an attorney would know.

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answers from Washington DC on

Welcome to mamapedia, J.!!

You need a good lawyer. Simple as that. I don't know the laws in Michigan.
You will need to prove paternity. It can be done in-utero, however it can be dangerous. So you will have to wait until after the baby is born.

I can tell you that hormones are running W. during pregnancy.

Don't know how old you are - but I would seriously consider using a condom next time you have sex....

Good luck!

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answers from Appleton on

My best advice is you need to contact Social Services in the county she lives in and ask for advice. You will also need an attorney, from Michigan. You may be able to start a custody study through the courts to establish who the best parent would be. Insist through the courts the Mom has a full psych eval to determine if she is mentally stable and able to care for a child. Since laws are different in all states all anyone on MP can do is give you general advice.

But from me to you KUDOS big KUDOS for standing up and fighting for your child.

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answers from Hartford on

You need a custody attorney from the area your former girlfriend lives in. You're going to need help establishing paternity after the baby is born, and that's going to have to be petitioned through the courts. A paternity test will establish not only if the baby is yours, but if there's a child at all. The lawyer can help you figure all of this out and how to go about it. You also have to consider that once paternity is established, there will be custody to figure out as well as child support. From here on out, all contact with your former girlfriend will probably have to be through lawyers. I wouldn't try contacting her directly again, nor her friends or family.

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answers from Detroit on

I am not sure about all of the state laws, but where I live, if you are not married, the mother can refuse to have you on the birth certificate.
You need to get a lawyer, after the baby is born she will be served with a paternity test.
You pretty much have no rights until you can prove this baby is yours and take her to court for custody.
Hopefully it is not your baby, because you will have a rough 18 years ahead of you.
Some people say marriage is just a piece of paper, this is a prime example of how important it is to be married when having children.
Kids desperately need their dads, without that "piece of paper" you're screwed.
Women like this give us all a bad name.

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answers from New York on

I'd say your first step would be paternity testing after the baby is born to make sure you are the father. Since your ex sounds like she's a little unsure about things you want to take that step to make sure you are not supporting someone else's responsibility. Once that is established you can have the birth certificate ammended and get support and visitation rights set up. As a father you have rights and responsibilities too so make sure you get a lawyer who will stand up for you.

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answers from Chicago on

The first thing you need to do is to get a paternity test. She may be pregnant. She may not. She may be pregnant and want nothing to do with you because it might not be yours. Which is sad but sometimes happens. So you need to get a lawyer to file an order for a paternity test. She will have no choice but to allow it. Then if it is your child you will be ordered visitation and child support. Not sure if thats what your asking but thats what needs to happen.



answers from Parkersburg on

I would contact an attorney in the state she is in and see what your rights are. Good luck.

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