Since the early 1960s, children born out of wedlock have been more common worldwide but with wide distinctions amongst and within nations. Every year, there are about a million more kids who are born before marriage.
Furthermore, even those couples who have babies hardly commit to tying the knot in a civil or church wedding. This fuels an issue of whether children born outside of marriage hold the same privileges as those having married parents in terms of what the Modern Law states. Below are 5 legal points concerning children born out of wedlock.
The law states that there is no disparity between the rights of children no matter what the civil status of their parents is. Moreover, those children raised by same-sex parents, a common law relationship, a single mother or any other situation have the same rights as the ones with married parents.
Child’s birth name
Another possible issue to be mindful of is that the child’s name may carry the father’s surname in the birth certificate. Usually, the child’s surname is not the same as his/her mother’s if this is the case. In the event of separation between the parents, the mother should know that she cannot easily change her child’s registered surname to her own. In addition, the father still possesses parental rights and responsibilities to the child. However, there is still the chance to change the surname only if both parties agree and if ordered by the Supreme Court.
Acknowledgment of Parentage
With extremely limited exemptions, the legal father of a child born to married parents is the husband. On the other hand, if the baby is born outside the marriage, then the man is not automatically recognized as the legal father even if the parents are living together. Establishing the parentage is an essential process in order to validate the legal relationship between the child and the father.
This procedure is commonly achieved through a court order or an affidavit of acknowledgment issued by the office of the civil registry. The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), on the other hand, highly promotes the process of determining paternity by making it easier to do. There are two ways for a father to accept parentage:
- Signing a written admission
- Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity
There is no automatic conclusion that the mother will have the custody of the child when the parents are not married. According to the Children’s Law Reform Act, both the parents of a child are fairly entitled to have custody. In addition, the parents have the obligation to utilize these important rights and responsibilities based on the child’s best interest.
The obligation of parents to support a child should not be affected whether they are married or not. Regardless of the marital status, the non-custodial parent should pay child support to the parent who has the custody until the age of 18. The support continues if the child is a full-time student or unmarried. It ends when the child reaches the age of 19 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first.
For the child’s well-being, unmarried parents must realize how to raise their child together especially if living separately. This means that the fathers should be responsible and oblige with the child’s mothers. For the moms, this means that they have to take good care of the child. It also means that they should maintain good communication with the child’s father.