Recently, families around the country celebrated Father’s Day. The holiday is a good time to reflect on the positive contributions of fathers to our families and communities. But what about father’s rights? In South Carolina, if a male is married and his wife has a child, the presumption is that the child is one of the marriage. However, if a child is born out of wedlock, it may be more difficult for a father to determine his rights.
Knowing Your Rights as a Father
The South Carolina Responsible Father Registry gives some rights to the father of a child who is not married. These rights include the right to be notified of when the child is put up for adoption or when a termination of parental rights proceeding will occur. Registration is free and open to any putative father. A putative father is any man who thinks he is the father of a child who was born to a woman he is not married to.
Why to Register for the Responsible Father Registry
If you believe you are the father of a child, the safest ways to ensure that your rights are protected is to join the registry. The Responsible Father Registry is often checked by experienced family law attorneys when they are beginning adoption cases or beginning the process for the termination of parental rights. If an individual’s name is in the registry, they must be notified any time someone starts court proceedings relating to their potential child.
How to Register for the Responsible Father Registry
Registration can be done either online or by mail. For the registration to be effective a male must be over 18. No person can register on the father’s behalf. When it comes to establishing paternity, the registry can be joined before or after the birth of the child. If you suspect you are the father of a child, you should act quickly, because your claim to paternity must be filed before a petition for the termination of parental rights has been filed.
What to Include in the Registration
You are required to provide your own contact information and the contact information of the mother, if you know it. Your registration must also include your date of birth and the date the claim is filed. If possible it is a good idea to include as much information about the child as well. This includes things like the child’s name, the child’s date of birth, and the location where the child was conceived.
How a South Carolina Family Attorney Can Help
If you are an unmarried male and are concerned with protecting your rights regarding a potential child, it is important you consult a family law attorney who can guide you through the process. Call the Surasky Law Firm today for a consultation on your rights and duties as a potential father.