What rights does an unmarried father have?

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What rights does an unmarried father have?

My ex-girlfriend and I have a 19 month old son. She limits the time I spend with him and never lets me see him alone. I pay monthly child support and have been established as his father (she cheated so there was a possibility I wasn’t the father so we did a paternity test) though we do not have any court ordered visitation guidelines. I just found out that some time since Tuesday when I last saw my son, she took him and moved out of state without mentioning anything to me. Is that legal? What are my options/rights?

Asked on September 30, 2012 under Family Law, Kansas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Any father, married or not, has rights they may assert to their child.  However, you have only had a paternity test done.  If you want to have something that documents your status and gives you a mechanism to enforce your rights, then you need to file a paternity suit.  Your evidence and basis of the suit will be the prior test you had done and the agreements you had reached.  From there, the court can impose orders granting you regular periods of access.  The court can also impose requirements on communication-- like requiring her to notify you of major changes in the child's life.. like a move to another state.  Since you are both in agreement that you are dad, the process is not that complicated.  However, getting her served could be a challenge since she has moved. A family law attorney can help you with interstate service issues.


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