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When a child is born to two parents who are not married, the father must be established as a legal parent in order for the father to pursue custody rights of the child.  Having the unmarried father’s name on the birth certificate does not automatically award the father any custody rights, so a legal action must be pursued. Establishing a legal relationship between a child and the father can be determined one of two ways.  The first option is to complete genetic testing.  This can be completed through the County Child Support Division or can be completed through private testing.  The second option is for both parents to execute a Recognition of Parentage form.  Quite often hospitals will provide these forms to parents at the time of the child’s birth.  By executing this form, the parents waive the right to genetic testing.

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