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How long does a father have to establish paternity?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2023 | Family Law

Parenthood is a lifelong commitment. Once someone helps to bring new life into the world, they often have a personal attachment and feel a sense of social obligation reinforced by their family and the broader community. However, from a legal sense, parents generally only have a responsibility to provide for their children while they are still minors.

New parents often cherish what time they have with their children as they grow, as those years pass so quickly. However, not every parent automatically has legal access to their child and the ability to spend time with them on a regular basis. For example, unmarried fathers in Hawaii generally need to establish paternity before the state will grant them shared custody rights or even visitation access.

The fastest process takes place at the hospital

It is possible for a father to cooperate with the mother of his child and to have his name on the very first draft of the birth certificate recorded with the state of Hawaii. Filling out a Voluntary Establishment of Paternity by Parents form requires both parents’ signatures can quickly affirm a man’s relationship to a child.

Of course, not all fathers know about their child at the time of birth, and even if they do, complications in their relationship with the mother of the child might prevent them from asserting their parental rights immediately. A father could potentially take the necessary steps to have the state recognize him in his role at any point while his child is still a minor.

It is also possible to communicate directly with the child after they achieve adulthood and establish paternity in an informal sense by doing testing together.  In general, if the father wants to add his name to the birth certificate, he will typically need to do so while the child is still a minor in most cases.

The fastest way to add a father to the birth certificate of a child is often through the voluntary cooperation of the mother, but it is also possible to have the courts order genetic testing when cooperation isn’t an option. Taking a step to formally establish paternity while a child is still young can help a father play a role in their child’s life and may benefit the child by giving them a sense of community and family history as well.

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