If you are not married, and were, or are, in a relationship with a person who is pregnant with your child, you can secure your parental rights! When pregnant either mom or dad can file a ‘paternity action‘ to establish the father and address custody, visitation & support.

Specifically, a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship is filed and served on the other party.  Both parents will go to mediation and then to trial to formalize a parenting schedule once the child is born.

Establishing the father can also be accomplished by voluntarily signing a Declaration of Paternity and filing this with Child Support Services.  However, this will not address Custody & Visitation which would have to be specified in the Family Court.

When dealing with the unborn child, reimbursement of pregnancy and birth expenses may be a factor.  Once the child is born, child support plus half the uninsured health-care costs as well as 1/2 child care costs may need to be calculated.

If you have questions about child support, custody & visitation, please consult with one of our experienced Family Law Attorneys who can advise you and explain your options.  In addition, our Flat Fees make it affordable.  We can be reached at 1-800-HELP-444 (1-800-435-7444) or visit our website www.LegalActionWorkshopLAW.com .

Reader Interactions


  1. My daughter is pregnant and due in sept. The baby daddy wants her to sign papers so that he does not have to pay or have any rights to this baby. Yet his friends have been harassing her to have an abortion which she would never do. Can he sign his rights over like that and never have any responsibility for this child?

    • Sheila:
      No, he cannot! The only time a father can give up the rights to a child is if the child is adopted. It sounds like your daughter needs some legal advice. Please call our offices @ 818-246-0073 Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 8:00 pm to discuss.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop–THE LAW FIRM THAT OFFERS LOW FLAT FEES!

    • I have a question , i am 4 months pregnant . The father of the baby and i are not married .. but he doesnt want any rights towards the child when it is born … i do not want to make him so i wanted to see if there is anyway that i could get all rights completely for my unborn child after birth and so later in life father doesnt come back with of change of mind ? Am from
      North Carolina .

      • Rachel:
        I’m not sure what the law is in North Carolina. In California when you have a child and are not married, most would file a ‘paternity action’ which would establish the father legally and address custody, visitation & support. In CA a father cannot give up all rights to the child unless that child is adopted. It would be best for you to seek legal advice from an attorney in your state so you are sure what your legal rights are and what are your options.
        Hope this helps!
        Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  2. My son ex girlfriend is pregnant and wants to put the unborn child for adoption is that possible or my son still have right even that were not sure is his baby!
    We need what can we do!

    • This is a difficult situation. Your son could ask her to voluntarily take a DNA test to determine if the child is his. If she doesn’t wish to do this and he wishes to proceed, he could file a paternity action and ask for a paternity test. If the results of the paternity test show that he is not the father, he would not proceed. If he is the father he would proceed with the paternity action.
      Hope this helps!
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  3. Me and my wife are having a baby….recently things have went bad in are relationship so she wants a divorce….I have asked her if I can be apart of my babys life and she told me no…that I will not know when the baby is born and my name will not go on the birth ceritifcate…I’m scared and nervous that I wont be apart of my childs life…I’m a father who wants to be apart of my childs life….she is 18 weeks pregnant and only been to the doctor once and they said she was probably due around Feburary 14…and told me she wasn’t going back to the doctors or hospital until the baby was born….So I do not even know if the baby has the potential to be born before that….please if anyone can help me please…

    • This is a difficult situation. At this point you can file for divorce and have her served. You would then go to court and address your rights to the unborn child. In effect you will be addressing custody, visitation and support for the child when he/she is born. You may also address other issues. It’s important to note that you have rights which cannot be denied as long as the child is yours and the pregnancy goes to term. If you are in the LA County area, we can help @ 1-800-HELP-444.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop–THE LAW FIRM THAT OFFERS LOW FLAT FEES!

  4. My cousins baby’s mom doesn’t want him to be there in the delivery room when she gives birth. There not married what can he do in order to be there?

    • It would be best for your cousin to file a ‘paternity action’ to establish himself legally as the father. In this process, he would address custody, visitation and support for the child once he/she is born. When he has fatherhood legally established–he may be able to be present for the birth–but this is dependent on a number of factors. It would be best for your cousin to speak with an attorney who can discuss this more fully.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  5. My boyfriend (whom I am having a baby with) is also having a baby with his previous girlfriend. If we move out of state will that affect his chances to gain custody of his other child?
    We will be moving due to job opportunities , we both work and have a stable living environment. I support him getting custody due to her past drug use. She does not have a place to live and has two other children that her mom are caring for. We do not want to move if it will affect his chances. He already is taking parenting classes by his own choice not court ordered. Should we move or stay in the same state as the unborn child?

    • Depending on the circumstances, the dad will have a better chance to have specific visitation with the child if he lives close. You will have to weigh the advantages for a job versus visitation with the child. Be advised, that he can still get visitation with the child if he moves but more than likely it will be less visitation especially when the child is so young.
      Hope this helps!

  6. I am 6months pregnant and left my boyfriend due to verbal abuse and obessivness also has lead me to seek a psychological help due to the relationship and still afraid of my boyfriend even now,what can i do to have full custody of my unborn baby due to fear of my boyfriend being emotionally unstabable.

    • You have some options. If your boyfriend is abusive and threatening you, you may wish to file a restraining order with the intent of stopping this behavior. You can also file a paternity action which would establish the father and address custody & visitation for the unborn child. You can also wait and do this once the child is born. If you wait, you will also address child support. These are choices–a consultation with the lawyer will help you decide which is in your best interest. If you are in California, you may call us for further help @ 818-630-5503.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!


    • Yes, you do have rights. You can file a ‘paternity action’ which would establish you as the father and then you can request custody/visitation rights etc. However, you will not have a hearing until the child is born. By filing this and serving her, you will determine the jurisdiction which will be helpful once there is a hearing.
      If you are in CA, we can help. Call 818-630-5503 to discuss.
      Hope this helps!
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  8. An old friend of mine is currently pregnant and has made the decision to give the baby up, as her and the father are not fit to raise the child and neither of them want it. She has asked my partner and I to “adopt” the baby, stating she would sign over parental rights and wants to make plans of us being in the delivery room, signing birth certificate and all that. Do we need to take certain legal steps in order to even do this? We are unsure of specific documents required, or if this can be done privately at the discretion of the maternal mother?

    • You do have to make formal plans to adopt the child. Often the hospital will facilitate this so you should contact them to see how to do this legally. Hope this helps!

  9. My girlfriend is married to a man in prison but she’s pregnant with my child. Who will be the legal father of that child when its born?

    • Luis:
      If during conception, your girlfriend was not living with her spouse (cohabiting) then the court can determine that the biological father is the father of the child–this could be proven by a DNA test. The question is whether your girlfriend wants to divorce her spouse? If she does then she would file for divorce…she could also file a ‘paternity action’ which would establish you as the father and address custody, visitation and support for the child–this could be done shortly before the birth or when the child is born. You could also file the ‘paternity action’ which would protect your legal rights to the child. Once she is divorced, she could also marry you if that is desired by both parties.

  10. My 6 month pregnant now ex-girlfriend is becoming promiscuous with other guys. Is there anything I can do to stop this? She’s known for not using protection.

    • One option would be to file a Paternity Action with the court which would establish you as the father legally of the child. It would also address custody, visitation and support for the child. In most cases this is done when the child is born–but could be done before the birth. As far as her behavior, I would encourage her to see her doctor regularly to ensure that the pregnancy is healthy one.
      Hope this helps!

      • Thanks for the reply, but I feel she will do what she wants, when she wants without any recourse or responsibility. I’m not sure if she could be held responsible (criminally or civilly) for catching any type of disease and passing it on the the unborn since she had a clean bill of health at the beginning of the pregnancy. Any prior cases like this?

  11. I have a temporary restraining order against my husband for hitting me while 6 months pregnant, (This just happened). What can I do to protect myself and my baby? He is dangerous and I know he will do everything in his power to get some custody of the baby. Can I file for full custody of my unborn child? The baby will be born in 3 months, would it help to file for divorce now? He has old felonys for assaults, I don’t want him to have rights to the baby. What if the divorce doesn’t go through before the baby is born can this affect custody? I will have a restraining order against him when the baby is born so he will not be on the birth certificate how does that impact custody? We’ve only been married for a year and I am very frightened of what will take place when my baby is born.

    • Rebecca:
      When you filed for a restraining order, did you go to a hearing? Normally a hearing would take place after the initial meeting with the judge. In this hearing your spouse would appear and both sides would offer their point of view. If the judge rules that a restraining order is necessary, then it would be in effect for a period of time (normally 3 years) and it could be reinstated for cause. As far as the divorce issue–you can certainly file for divorce and can request supervised visitation or no visitation etc. once the child is born. If you wish to discuss, please call us @ 818-630-5503.
      Thank-you for contacting Legal Action Workshop–THE LAW FIRM THAT OFFERS LOW FLAT FEES!

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