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What Rights Do Unmarried Parents Have in Kentucky?

More than half of children in the United States are born to parents who aren’t married. This can prove to be a complicated situation if the couple sharing a child decides to separate. Marriage makes the legal process of determining paternity a bit easier by automatically making the assumption the child of a heterosexual married couple is the biological product of the marriage; after the baby is born, the husband’s name will automatically be placed on the birth certificate.

For unmarried parents, the process can take a couple more steps. After the child is born, the parents can both sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form. The VAP process is managed by the Kentucky Paternity Acknowledgement Program. When people go to hospitals or birthing facilities to deliver babies, the medical staff will provide parents with the VAP.

Both parents should read the VAP and, if they understand and agree with it, both should sign and date it in the presence of a notary public. If they both sign it, the man will be considered the biological father of the child. If the couple later separates, the mother can ask for child support or the father can ask for child custody, visitation, and child support (if the court awards him custody).

If one or both parents doesn’t want to sign the VAP, neither is awarded the same legal rights a divorced couple has concerning custody, visitation, and child support. One of them must then ask the court to demand genetic testing from the other parent. If a DNA link is established, the court will issue a final paternity judgment, which means paternity has been formally established and the father’s name added to the child’s birth certificate.

If you need help establishing paternity of your child, talk to our skilled Bowling Green family law attorney about your case as soon as possible. Attorney Pamela C. Bratcher has nearly three decades of legal experience to offer you and your family. Let us see what we can do for you.

Contact us at (270) 977-8910 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation today.

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