Understanding The In Hospital Paternity Acknowledgement
Understanding the In-Hospital Paternity Acknowledgement
If a man and woman are not married at the time of a child’s birth, it’s common practice for the man to be asked to sign a paternity acknowledge at the hospital. These forms are required for any states that accept Temporary Assistance for Needy Families monies. While this paternity acknowledgement can help unmarried fathers get parental rights and have a basis for filing for custody or visitation in the family courts, it can also lead to someone who is not the biological father being held financially responsible for the child for the next 18 years.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, men are more likely to voluntarily sign an in-hospital paternity acknowledgement at the child’s birth than at any other time. This makes sense because, in most situations, the man would not even be at the hospital unless he already had a reasonable belief that he was the biological father.
When the man sees the baby and goes through the experience of witnessing birth, it can bring up many different emotions. When a member of the hospital staff then presents the man with a form to sign saying he’s the father, the situation may pressure him to sign the acknowledgement. Once this happens there is a limited amount of time to contest the paternity.
However, if later on, the man finds out that the child is not biologically his, he may have a very difficult time getting free of the financial obligations of child support. If there is any doubt that whether or not the man may be the father, it’s best to talk with a family law attorney about having a DNA test done as soon as possible and before any papers are signed.
Source: Women Against Paternity Fraud, “Abuses in Establishing Paternity,” accessed March 25, 2016