Why don’t I have custody rights if I’m on the birth certificate?

A father calls saying that he in on the birth certificate of a child that was born out-of-wedlock. The mother, for whatever reason, will not let him see the child. He indicates that he on the birth certificate and cannot understand why she can keep the child away from him. This is common, while lots is often made about the so-called dads that are not involved, most law firms get more calls from dads who are involved or want to be involved and don't know how to do so.

Many dads that are unmarried think that since they're on the birth certificate, they have custody rights. While an acknowledgement on a birth certificate or a positive DNA test are a good thing for certain dads who want to be involved in their child's life, they will still need to obtain a custody order to have an enforceable right to custody. A parenting plan denotes the specific custody schedule a parent has, including the days of the week and the times. It sets forth the holiday schedule and summer schedule. It explains who has legal and physical custody.

Even if an unmarried dad is on a birth certificate, if you flip that birth certificate around it does not have a custody schedule on it. It does not state that a father has this time on a holiday or that holiday. At the end of the day, it's a presumption or finding of paternity in most states. But it doesn't create an enforceable right to custody. To obtain a parenting plan, an unmarried father really needs to file a paternity case in state court to obtain a parenting plan. By doing so, they obtain a parenting plan just like a married father going through a divorce.