How Is A Father Defined By New Jersey

How is a father defined by New Jersey?

Fathers of children do have some paternal rights, whether they are married to the child’s mother or not. The type of rights afforded unmarried fathers differs by state, and each state also defines fatherhood in a different manner. New Jersey is one of 23 states that presumes fatherhood in any of a number of circumstances.

If a man and a woman were married to each other, and the woman gave birth to a child during that marriage or within 300 days of the marriage ending, then the state presumes the man is the father. Even if the marriage is invalid or could be invalid, the state still presumes the man is the father.

The state presumes a man is the father of a child if the man is listed, with his permission, as the father on the baby’s birth certificate. The same is true if the man has somehow otherwise acknowledged paternity in writing. If the man is required to support a child in any way, either through an order of the court or some type of voluntary agreement, then the state will presume he is the father.

Presumption of the state doesn’t mean the person is, in fact, the father of the child. However, for the purposes of denying a father’s rights, someone might have to prove that the man is not the father in such cases. The same is true from the other side; a man who is presumed to be the father might have to prove he is not in order to remove from himself the obligations of support.

Paternity is just one aspect of father’s rights cases. Because society still defaults to the mother in many cases, understanding how to navigate the legal system is often the only way a father can seek appropriate contact and care of his children.

Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, “The Rights of Unmarried Fathers,” accessed Sep. 18, 2015


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.