An unmarried father must demonstrate paternity for the kid before claiming any parental rights. If the DNA test proves paternity, the father can ask the court for child custody and visiting rights. In addition, an unmarried father can register with the Virginia Putative Father Registry. Here, fathers can submit their names and contact information so that they can be notified of pregnancy tests or births.
Virginia is a joint custody state, which means both parents share responsibility for making decisions about important matters such as where the child will go to school, religious instruction, and medical care. The law allows for equal time sharing or primary physical custody, with one parent having more than 50 percent and less than 100 percent of the time under their name being designated the primary custodian. If there is no agreement between the parents, the court decides who gets custody based on what it determines to be in the best interest of the child.
Both married and unmarried parents can file for divorce. In an unmarried mother's case, the father has no legal obligation to support his child, although many choose to do so anyway. If the father does not take action to establish a relationship with the child, he loses all parental rights to that child. An unmarried father may petition for custody after the mother dies, remarries, or changes her mind (about having the baby). If the father fails to act within a reasonable time period, he forfeits his right to custody.
In Virginia, if a kid's parents are not married when the child is born, the child has no legal father until paternity is proven. When paternity is confirmed, the father's name is added to the kid's birth certificate, and the father gains certain rights to the child. These include the right to decide how the child will be raised after birth and the right to financial support from the mother.
If the parents are still married when the child is born, the father cannot be named on the birth certificate because it would be a duplicate listing. Instead, an affidavit signed by both parents stating that they believe the father is responsible for the child can be filed with the local authority who issued the birth certificate. This affidavit gives the father the right to access his child's medical records without the mother's consent and to be notified of any adoption proceedings involving his child. He also becomes eligible to receive social security benefits based on the child's account.
Parents who marry after the birth of their child usually have the option of having their marriage recognized by the state, which allows them to establish paternity and get credit toward a requirement to pay child support. If they do not want this to happen, they can file for a divorce instead. In most cases, the father is given custody of the child during divorce proceedings and receives full custody after the divorce is granted.
If the parents are married when the kid is born, paternity is immediately established. The spouse is the child's legal father, and his name will appear on the birth certificate.
In this case, the spouse is considered to be the child's legal mother because she is listed on the birth certificate. She is given authority to make medical decisions for the child and can even get credit toward meeting residency requirements for hospital staff members. However, she cannot be asked by anyone including the government to provide evidence of paternity. If she wants to change the official record of paternity, she has the option of signing an affidavit of paternity.
The spouse is not required to prove paternity in order to receive welfare or other government benefits. If the spouse does not want to claim the child as her own, then no action will be taken against her. Otherwise, she would have to go to court and have DNA testing done or otherwise prove her claim to the state. If she fails to do so, her assistance would be stopped and she would have to fight to get it restored.
As long as the spouse follows these instructions, she will remain the legal mother of the child and he will remain the legal father. Paternity can only be proven through genetic testing if the couple decides to file for divorce or marry someone else after the birth of the child.