At the David W. Martin Law Group our South Carolina family law attorneys know that when married parents have children, paternity is assumed at birth. This means both the mother and father will appear on the birth certificate.
When parents choose not to wed, paternity can be established both voluntarily and through a court order.
Here is what unwed parents need to know about their rights in South Carolina.
Voluntary Paternity in South Carolina
When both parents agree that the man is the biological father, paternity can be established voluntarily. To voluntarily establish paternity, both the father and mother must sign what is called a “Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment.”
This can happen at the hospital and will be notarized upon signing. This will allow both parents to appear on the child’s birth certificate.
Is Paternity Assumed if the Parents are Married After the Child’s Birth?
In South Carolina, there is a process that establishes the father of a child born out of wedlock as the child’s legal father called, “Legitimation of Birth.” This process occurs when the father was not listed on the birth certificate at the hospital, but later marries the mother.
Parents can begin the process at the nearest Vital Records office in South Carolina or the DHEC State Vital Records Office in Columbia.
You will need to provide a certified copy of the marriage license, and both parents must sign an affidavit in the presence of a notary. You will also need to request a certified copy of the birth certificate.
Definitively Establishing Paternity Through a Court Ordered DNA Test
If your name is not on the child’s birth certificate — either because you did not know he or she was born, the mother did not want you involved, or you were not sure you were the father — you must establish paternity through a DNA test.
Either the mother or father can petition the court for a DNA test, so they have a definitive parentage answer.
After paternity is established, the parents may begin child support and child custody/visitation proceedings to help ensure the child’s best interests come first. We can help.
Contact our David W. Martin Law Group paternity attorneys in South Carolina today by calling (803) 548-2468 to ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.