Understandably, people are not really thinking about the importance of legal documents after the birth of a child. However, in Maryland and around the country, signing after-birth documents is one of the most important parts of the process. This is especially true for the father, who may not have as many rights as the mother at the beginning. A father will use an acknowledgment of paternity, or AOP, form to gain certain rights. However, signing this document does not mean you have a guarantee for every aspect of the child’s life. Read on to explore further areas that may not be guaranteed after signing an AOP form.
Why sign an AOP form?
The signing of an AOP form is incredibly important for fathers who are not married. The form is critical to obtain any rights in terms of being able to argue for child custody and child support. Without this form, the father would not legally be able to fight for paternity later on after the birth certificate has been created.
Rights you are not guaranteed
Fathers should note that signing an AOP form does not give unlimited control of their child. An AOP form does not guarantee you the right to child custody; that issue would need to be heard in court. Another item not guaranteed is the right to visitation. Much like child custody, this issue would also need to be taken up by a separate court procedure.
As with any legal document, you may face hurdles in having your paternity recognized after the birth of your child. It is highly recommended to obtain an attorney’s services to help you navigate the process.