If you are the father of an unborn baby, it can be frustrating to watch the mother make certain decisions about the well-being and future of the child without your consent or input. If the mother moves out of state, you may be concerned about seeing your child or getting a fair hearing regarding custody matters. Fathers have very few rights over unborn children. In order to exercise your rights as a father, you will have to wait until the child is born and then pursue your fair parental rights. There are a few things that you can do while the mother is still pregnant to help protect your rights, though.
File a Statement of Paternity As Soon As Possible
In many states, to obtain legal rights over a child, a father must file an affidavit of paternity which recognizes that he is the father of the child. Some states require that both the mother and father sign this form. If the mother refuses to sign this form, you may file under the putative father's registry and file for your father's rights once the child is born. It is important to start this process as soon as possible, before the child is born and preferably before the mother moves out of state. This will show your interest in the child and your willingness to take parental responsibility for the child.
Determine Which State Has Jurisdiction of the Case
In most cases, the state where the child is physically located has jurisdiction over a family court case. However, in some circumstances, judges have found that a pregnant woman moving across state lines has done so as a hostile act, in which case the jurisdiction may revert back to the original state where the mother lived with the father. Determining jurisdiction early will ensure that you are consulting lawyers in the correct jurisdiction and that you are prepared to finance your case in the proper jurisdiction, which may mean frequent out of state trips for you.
Consult With a Local Attorney As Soon As Possible
When the mother of your unborn baby moves out of state you may feel helpless or frustrated. It is important that you contact an attorney, such as Lois Iannone Attorney at Law, as soon as possible to learn about your options for protecting your rights as a father. The steps you take before your child is born can be important in gaining your rights once the child is born.