How do I get parental rights of my daughter? 29 Answers as of August 15, 2011

I was never told about my daughter until she was 5. Her mother is now married and was at the time of her birth. I want to be in her life and went so far as to have a DNA test done confirming I am her father. What steps can I or do I need to take to get her recognized as my daughter and have my rights recognized?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
You have to file a Petition to Establish Parentage - generally once filed the Court orders DNA but since you have it already you are ahead of the game.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/11/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
First, you need to file an application for visitation. You do that in the court that has jurisdiction over the town where your daughter lives. The court may require you to sign an acknowledgment of paternity as well.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 8/10/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
If the mother is still married to the same man she was married to at the time of the birth of the daughter, he is presumed the father. If he does not agree to having you recognized as the father then it will not happen.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/8/2011
Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
You may have to file a petition in your family court. This will establish your rights and obligations.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 8/6/2011
Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
You will need to start a paternity action. Given the situation - her being married, it will get complicated. You should work with an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 8/5/2011
    Linda C. Garrett Law
    Linda C. Garrett Law | Linda Garrett
    Answer: Short answer: file a paternity action in the county in which you live-assuming you have lived in your county at least 3 months. Paternity can be legally confirmed by admission by the mom or a paternity test (if mom does not voluntarily admit paternity.) Besides confirming paternity, you can also ask for (if facts support the "best interest of the child" legal standard) for shared legal custody and visitation. Keep in mind that this opens the door for mother requesting child support. Now-a-days, you can opt for one of a few options: 1) proceed on your own behalf without the assistance of legal counsel (no expense); 2) hire an attorney to represent you (most expensive option); 3) hire an attorney on limited-scope basis. This means you hire the attorney to COACH YOU to do the work. The attorney does NOT represent you at all!); 4) Hire lawyer to prepare forms only-but you everything else-file forms with court, serve on mom's attorney, appear in court, etc. So, if you fear you can't afford to hire an attorney to have you with this important matter, know that you have other options to reach the end result. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    You need to start a paternity action.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Go to the clerk's office of the J&DR court in the locality where the child resides and file your petition for visitation rights.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    If a man is not married to a child's mother when the child is born, he can become the "legal" father through the"Recognition of Parentage" (ROP) process or by Court Order. To get a Court Order establishing paternity, the dad files papers to start a paternity case in the local District Court where the child or the "defendant" lives. A court may decide what custody and parenting time rights apply based on what it believes to be in the child's best interests. However, where there is a presumed father under law, (such as when the child is born during a marriage), there is statute limiting when a case may be brought. WHere there is a presumed father, an action must be brought within two years after the person bringing the action has reason to believe that the presumed father is not the father of the child, but in no event later than three years after the child's birth. In other words, if the child was born during a marriage and the child is now age 5, you cannot establish paternity under law.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    After five years, it probably won't be easy. However, the first thing you are going to have to do is to bring a paternity action through the court system. Once paternity is established, and you are declared to be the father, then, the second part of the case starts, having the court create a parenting plan.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    You need to file a Paternity action. This will start the process. I suggest you consult a local Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    You have to petition the court for a DNA if she is not willing to voluntarily do so.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Rice & Co., LPA
    Rice & Co., LPA | Kollin Rice
    You will need to file in the Juvenile Court in the county where your daughter lives in order to obtain a visitation award. (A child support award will likely be made as well, if it has not already.) A court will ordinarily award a parent some kind of visitation unless there is clear evidence showing that the parent poses a substantial risk to the child.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    This is not as easy or as straightforward as it sounds. The husband of your child's mother is considered the putative father by the court as the child was a product of the marriage. This is a rebuttable presumption, but you will have to go to court and likely to trial to prove that the child is yours and that it is in the best interest of the child for your to see her. I assume you have spoken to the child's mother and she has said that she will not share. Thus your only option is to find a lawyer who will fight for your rights. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller | Jackie Robert Geller
    You need to file a petition for custody and visitation and/or a paternity action.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If she was married at the time of birth, her husband is the legal parent regardless of any testing, and courts will not, to quote old English law, "bastardize" a legitimate child in most cases. So unless you have the cooperation of her husband and her, you likely will fail. With their cooperation, and a good lawyer, you may be able to get visitation and pay support and be recognized.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    The Coyle Law Office
    The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
    You likely need to file a Petition to Establish Paternity at your local courthouse. You can do that on your own by asking the clerk for the appropriate forms or you could hire a family law attorney to assist you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend you consult with a family law lawyer about the possibility of filing a legitimation suit. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You need to file a paternity case to have your legal status determined based on the DNA testing. As part of that case, the Court will establish your child support obligations and can adopt a Parenting Plan that will allocate parental responsibilities, including parenting time schedules. All decisions reflected in the Parenting Plan will be based on the child's best interest, taking into account you constitutional rights as a parent. You can expect that your access will, initially, be limited and subject to reasonable limitations designed to allow you to establish a safe relationship with the child due to the fact that you are a complete stranger to her.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You would need to bring a paternity action.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    You must file a filiation suit against the mother and naming the child in order to establish your rights to custody or visitation. You should also file an affidavit with the Louisiana Putative Father Registry, acknowledging the child, as well as an affidavit of acknowledgement with the local clerk of court's office where you live. You may not be able to divest the legal father of rights; Louisiana acknowledges two fathers for a child in these cases. You should consult an attorney and begin immediately because your rights are time-sensitive.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    You must file a filiation (paternity) and custody and parenting time petition with the court.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You would have to bring an action in the Family Part fo custody/visitation based upon her being your childd.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law you would need to bring a paternity action to have yourself legally established as the father of the child (the mother's husband is the presumed father since they were married when the child was born). Then as part of the process you could request a parenting plan determining your time/involvement with the child.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    hire a family lawyer immediately. Tennessee law is that a child born during the marriage is presumed to be the husband's child. However, you have proof that overcomes the presumption. It's a long process but it can be successfully concluded. Does her husband know any about this?
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Lewis, Pfanstiel & Williams, PCLO
    Lewis, Pfanstiel & Williams, PCLO | Ryan J. Lewis
    You need to file a Complaint to establish Paternity, Custody and Vsitation.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    If your daughter's mother was married at the time of her birth, you are not considered to be the father. There is a conclusive presumption that the husband of a married woman is the natural father of the child. The only two people that can contest this presumption are the mother of the child and her husband and they must contest the paternity within the first two years of the child's life. Without the consent of the mother and her husband, you have no rights to the child and in the State of California, you are not recognized as the biological father.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    You nee to hire an attorney to file a legitimation case.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/3/2011
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