Fathers’ Rights Attorneys in Greenville, South Carolina
At the David W. Martin Law Group, our fathers’ rights lawyers in Greenville know how important it is for a child to have both parents in their lives. Unfortunately, South Carolina does not recognize the rights of the biological father when a child is born out of wedlock.
While many couples may fully agree to start their families before or completely without getting married, the consequences of doing so can leave the father with no legal rights to the child, including no say in the day-to-day decisions on how he or she is raised, expectations for visitation, and zero chance at sharing custody of the child if paternity was never established.
Without a marriage certificate between the parents, the father — even if he is in a committed and lengthy relationship with the mother — must establish the paternity of the child.
Our Greenville County fathers’ rights attorneys will walk you through the process, so you can make informed decisions about becoming — or remaining — a significant and influential part of your child’s life.
How Do I Know the Paternity of My Child Has Not Already Been Established in South Carolina?
There are four questions you may ask yourself to determine if the paternity of your child has been established in South Carolina.
- Were you married to the mother at the time of the baby’s birth?
- Did you sign a Paternity Acknowledgement Affidavit before the baby’s birth?
- Is your name listed as the father on the birth certificate?
- Have you taken a paternity test?
If you answered no to each of these questions, you have not successfully established paternity in South Carolina.
Therefore, you have:
- No legal say in decisions regarding the child, including their education, medical treatment, or religion
- No visitation or custody rights
- No right to be notified if the child is being adopted
Without establishing paternity, the mother can decide to stop the father’s visits without notice or cause and he will have no legal recourse to reverse her decision.
If this has happened to you, you must take deliberate steps to prove that you are the father of the child before you can pursue any form of visitation or child custody in South Carolina.
How Can I Establish Paternity in South Carolina?
Our fathers’ rights lawyers in Greenville know how important it is for children to have their dads to lean on throughout their lives.
During their childhood, and the formative years of their lives, kids rely on stability and guidance from both parents, and if you have not established the paternity of your child(ren), you may miss out on their shaping their growth.
There are many ways a father can establish paternity in South Carolina, including:
- Signing a Paternity Acknowledgement Affidavit before the child is born
- Signing the birth certificate after the child is born
- Participating in a DNA test to confirm the child is yours
When the mother is married at the time of the child’s birth, the male spouse is automatically given legal paternity of the child, even if he is not the father.
Establishing Paternity in Greenville, South Carolina Benefits the Child and the Father
Fathers can hire an attorney to file a suit to establish paternity and pursue the mother for sole or joint custody or visitation rights. Once paternity is established, child support may be pursued by the custodial parent, which is the parent with whom the child lives.
Establishing paternity benefits both the child and the father, as they can begin — or continue, in some cases — a relationship that provides security, guidance, and identity by knowing who their parents are and maintaining a healthy and committed relationship with both, which increases their self-esteem.
Other benefits of establishing paternity can provide the child with:
- Shared parenting resources and increased daily involvement
- Family medical health history
- Extended family relationships with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents
- Expanded financial and social benefits, including health insurance, Social Security, inheritance, or other benefits
Establishing paternity can provide the father with:
- A sense of purpose for establishing better habits to ensure they are contributing to the child’s livelihood
- The ability to change the child’s last name to their own
- Rights to make decisions involving the child’s upbringing
- Access to parenting agreements, including custody and child support arrangements with fewer legal complications
- Access to legal rights when there is a fear that the other parent may take the child without consent
- Rights to protect the child from an abusive or neglectful living arrangement
The details regarding fathers’ rights in South Carolina can be complex, especially if you are pushed into a situation where your parental privileges are being questioned or withdrawn during a breakup or another relationship difficulty.
We can help you get ahead of any potential heart and headaches related to your rights as a dad in South Carolina, so you are prepared to take the lead in your children’s lives at a moment’s notice.
What are the Next Steps After Establishing Paternity in South Carolina?
At the David W. Martin Law Group, our fathers’ rights attorneys in Greenville, South Carolina guide our clients through the legal processes necessary to become the best parent they can be by explaining their entitlement to be involved in their children’s lives.
Those rights may include pursuing child custody, visitation, and shared parenting plan through the courts, so you can begin spending time with your child on a regularly scheduled basis.
Call Our Fathers’ Rights Lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina Today
If you would like to learn more about your rights as a father, contact our experienced fathers’ rights attorneys in Greenville, South Carolina at the David W. Martin Law Group to discuss your unique legal representation need by calling (803) 590-1958 today.