Complete a Paternity Acknowledgement Form to Protect Rights as a Father

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Not Married to Your Child's Mother? Protect Your Rights.

Each year in the United States, more than 50% of all births are born out of wedlock. With marriage becoming less popular, more and more children are being born to single mothers. This does not automatically mean that fathers are any less interested in being a part of their child’s life. However, when a father is not married to the mother of the child, he does not have the same rights or entitlements to his child as a man who is married to the mother of the child. One way to guarantee rights as a father is to complete a free acknowledgment of paternity form when the child is born.

An acknowledgement of paternity (AOP) form can provide a father with rights when he is not married to the mother of the child. It can be completed immediately after birth. Most hospitals have a full time social worker on hand who checks in with the family upon a child’s birth. The social worker visits each new family to provide services such as the request for a birth certificate and social security number (in most states). Fathers can request assistance with the completion of an AOP form.

While signing the AOP does not grant the father instant rights to visitation and custody, it legally establishes paternity in the eyes of the law. When a father signs the form, his name will appear on the child’s birth certificate as the father. If the child’s paternity is questionable, a father can request that a test is administered before signing the AOP. In most areas, paternity tests may be requested through the local Department of Social Services.

How Signing an AOP Benefits the Father

  • By signing the acknowledgement of paternity form, the father will be listed on the child's birth certificate as a parent.
  • The AOP form gives a father the right to pay child support for his child.
  • By signing the AOP form, the father listed will be notified and legally considered in any adoption proceedings that may occur.
  • While the AOP does not give a father rights to visitation or custody, it does establish that the father is interested in the child and gives the court a favorable impression during visitation and custody proceedings.

How Signing an AOP Benefits the Child

  • Completing an AOP allows an unmarried father to have his name added to the birth certificiate. Regardless of the relationship between the mother and father, the child will have a legal document that lets them know who their real biological father is.
  • In the event of the death of the father, the child will receive death benefits such as Social Security and insurance funds.

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Comments 23 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

First of all, welcome back! It's good to see you with a new hub, being as I'm one of your biggest fans. Secondly, this is excellent information, and needs to be known. As you stated, this affects a great many Americans and I'm willing to be many do not know this information. Great job Tammy!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Hi Tammy! Yep! What Bill said:)

I think it's good for all unmarked couples to have a paternity test...in fact these days, maybe it should be required for divorces too...wouldn't that be interesting?! Haha!


JThomp42 4 years ago

Very interesting Hub.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks JThomp42!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks so much for reading and commenting billybuc. The subject of fatherhood is one that is very important for our nations children.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

I agree Realhousewife! I think that paternity testing should be required before any man is sentenced to pay child support. In some states, the cost of the tests are so high that a man can't afford them. For those in this situation, a paternity test can be purchased at Walmart for less than $30. It only involves swabbing the child's mouth. Anyone with questions can do this. Thanks for reading!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

This was something that i was totally unaware of. I think it is an excellent idea. Many times the father is excluded when the mother marries another man/ woman, whatever. Great topic..


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks so much for reading and commenting always exploring!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Terrific info that safeguards the rights of the father. This is definitely important.


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Tammy - Good to see you again! Great information! Too many times men end up paying the bills, but not seeing the kids that have become such a big part of their lives. Great Job!


TycoonSam profile image

TycoonSam 4 years ago from Washington, MI

This is great information Tammy. I don't think I'll ever have to fill out one of these forms though.... ; o


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

EXCELLENT. Bio Dads must all step up to the plate...and on the other side of the coin...must be given the right to be involved in their child's life and upbringing, if he has that desire. It is so very important for all children to know their parents, interact with both and have the opportunity to be loved and cared for by both Mom and Dad.

In most States.....if a bio dad is not given the option to file legal documents in terms of paternity....he can certainly go to family court and INSIST he be allowed to fill out these forms to accept paternity and responsibility. Very VERY good hub, Tam! ....UP+++


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks so much for reading and commenting fpherj48. Fatherhood issues are widely searched. I think men are stepping up to take care of their children and researching their options when they are denied their rights. I appreciate your visit and comment.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I think this is an excellent idea for unmarried fathers. But I think the bigger issue is a lot of fathers out there refusing to acknowledge that a child is theirs. Voting this Up and Useful.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

It is a sad fact, but very true alocsin. Thanks so much for stopping by.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Thanks for the info about that AOP Tammy. Didn't know that more than 50% births ocurre out of wedlock. most Biological fathers will check into this hub, which is important. Any man in his right mind would look for that legal bondage guaranteed by law. Social services should run a simple 30 seconds ad, explaining the topic, with a direct link to this hub of course. Thanks Tammy, and I didn't know you published this hub 2 days ago. H.O.W. is taking some of my time but is for a good cause. Have a nice one my friend! Sharing!


old albion profile image

old albion 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Tammy. A really informative read. I'm sure this will be of great help to a great many people. Thank you.

Graham.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

I'd never thought of a paternity acknowledgment form as a protection for the father. How nice that some fathers still want to be a part of their child's life!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Very true vespawoolf. I think their rights were protected, more men would want to take care of their children. Thanks for stopping by!


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 3 years ago from Brownsville,TX

this is a great hub.. so true.. there are so many children being born and the fathers that want to be a part of the child's life should, be considered..

sharing

debbie


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for reading Ms. Deborah!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Complete a Paternity Acknowledgement Form to Protect Rights as a Father a useful, informative and well researched hub on this topic a father should be part of their child's life.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks so much for visiting DDE!

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