For unmarried fathers, establishing paternity is an extremely important step to take in order to secure parental rights. Unmarried fathers who do not establish paternity could lose visitation rights and the right to have a say in the upbringing of their child.
Paternity is established automatically when the father is married to the mother at the time of the birth. However, if the mother and father are not married when the child is born, additional steps need to be taken to establish paternity. This is true even if the father has had an active role in the child’s life.