A woman knows that she is the mother of a child, but a father’s position is somewhat less certain. Under Hawaiian law, there is a presumption of paternity that applies to married couples. Legally, a husband becomes the father of a child when your wife gives birth, even if you are not the biological father.
If you are not married to the mother of a child, you will have to take a few steps to officially be a father as recognized by the state. Establishing paternity gives you all the rights of parenthood and the responsibilities that come along with them, including the right to make decisions about your child’s future, and the chance for parenting time.
What are the two most common means of establishing paternity for fathers in Hawaii not married to the mother of their child?
You and the mother can fill out paperwork together
If you are still in a committed relationship, the mother of your child is likely eager to name you as the father. Even if your relationship ended during the pregnancy, she may still understand that you will be an important person to the child.
If parents agree about who the father is, they can fill out a Voluntary Establishment of Paternity by Parents document. If parents aren’t together at the time of birth, you can still fill out this important form by working with the District Health office on your island.
Both parents will have to sign. If one parent lives out of the state, you may have to coordinate a process for them to sign documents in their home state.
What happens if the mother doesn’t agree to acknowledge the father?
Sometimes, there’s confusion about who the father might be. Other times, a bad relationship means that the mother isn’t willing to voluntarily acknowledge the father. If you cannot work together to sign the paperwork, you can go to the court and ask them to help you establish paternity. They can order the mother to present the child for non-invasive genetic testing.
Provided that the testing affirms your paternity, you can then ask for all of your parental rights, including shared parenting time or visitation. The sooner you establish paternity, the sooner you can fill the role of a father for your child.