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I found out I was pregnant after I left. Do I have to tell him?

Years of conflict can precede any divorce. During this time, couples may make all sorts of choices in their lives together such as where to live, how to furnish their homes and if they are going to have kids together. A couple may have chosen to have children during happier times in their marriage. Even if they face conflicts, they may have a brief period of personal reconciliation. A single get together can lead to sudden consequences. A woman may even find that she’s unexpectedly pregnant as a result of a single encounter with a spouse she find unsatisfactory in other ways. The realization can come as a shock. The man or woman may have experienced prior bouts of infertility so the pregnancy is truly a surprise. If a woman is in the process of a separation and a divorce or contemplating such actions in the near future or she’s already left him, she may have all sorts of questions about what to do next. Having a baby when she no longer intends to have a relationship with the baby’s father can be very scary. In this case, it is imperative that she has access to legal advice about what she should do next.

A Father Has Rights

If a woman wants to keep the child, it is important to remember that the court system gives fathers rights in the same way it gives mothers right. A father may still be owed the right to see his child as well as the need to support that child. Many legal organizations are willing to fight on behalf of fathers in the court system. Even if the woman has left, this does not mean the man’s rights are necessarily compromised. Both parents will have standing in the law. Going forward, the father of the child will have certain rights such as the right to be part of that child’s life. A woman should bear in mind that she has no legal obligation to tell a man that she’s carrying his child. If a woman does not want the father to know about the pregnancy, she can choose certain choices during the birth. A woman can opt to leave the father’s name off of the birth certificate. The father can be added to the birth certificate later on via a process that varies by state. A woman will typically need to pay a fee and wait a few weeks for the corrected document. A man can agree to raise another man’s child even if he is not biologically related to him. If a man chooses to support the child for a period of time and she leaves him, that may still obligate the man to continue supporting the child financially.

If the Father Finds Out

A woman should keep in mind that a man may find out later on that he is possibly the father of her child. A father can file paperwork asking her to provide him with evidence about his paternity. It’s also good to bear in mind that a woman may also want the father to know about the baby. A father has legal obligations to his children. She may want him to pay child support or to claim a portion of his estate. If she needs to apply for assistance from the state, she’ll be required to name the father of her child. In that case, she may have to spend a lot of time tracking him down. This can delay receiving necessary funds for weeks until the father is finally found. It can also create anger in the other partner when the father learns about a child he had but was not told about until that time. She may create a situation that leads to needless anger in the long run that does not serve her interests or the interests of her unborn child.

Children Have Rights

It’s important to remember that children also have rights. Laws governing a man’s access to a child are in flux. In recent years, many courts have ruled that a child has an inherent right to get to know their biological father. When a mother refuses that right for her child, she may face problems in her life later down the road. A child who discovers that a mother has not told them the name of their father may have a damaged relationship with their mother for many years. Even if the parent has not been a good husband to her, this may not mean the courts will see him as a potentially bad parent. A father who has not been told about the child initially can go to court and demand the court intervene on his behalf to correct this situation in his favor. He may even ask for primary custody of the child on the grounds that the mother denied him his right to be a father of the child in the first place. In an era when DNA tests can determine paternity, a father can easily find out if that’s his child without a doubt. This is why legal counsel is a must in this particular situation. The lawyer can help a woman determine what she should do as well as what may happen if she does not tell a man he’s a father. The lawyer can help her and her child avoid potentially serious consequences down the road.