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Understanding the Legal Rights of Unwed Fathers

There's a common misconception that divorce law always involves marriage. Why is that wrong? Simply put, divorce law involves any situation where two people cohabitate, share property, and above all else, bear children together. It doesn't necessarily constitute a marriage agreement or certificate. However, there are certain rights and situations that can differ between, in this case, an unwed father and a married father.

Take this case between Plotnick vs. DeLuccia, for instance, a case firmly recorded in case law and explored at great length as far as the differentiation between unwed fathers and what's expected of them. In this situation, we have the defendant (the mother) who had ended the engagement in the summer of 2013 with a temporary mandatory injunction ordered by the Plaintiff (the father) due to a pregnancy. The terms were as follows: that the father be notified when mother enters into labor, that he be present during the time of delivery, that he'd be able to sign the child's birth certificate, that the child would carry the father's name, and that a parenting-time schedule be situated.

He's definitely getting all the ducks in a row. However, the fact that the father wasn't married to the mother – due to the mother ending the engagement, it was determined by the court that he had no right to insist he should be allowed to be notified and present during the delivery. Stipulations regarding his name, signing the birth certificate, and establishing parenting time, though, remained givens. That's nothing short of an interesting combination of rights, determined by the mother's right to privacy and level of stress during a pregnancy.

In other words, if you're an unwed father, you truly don't even have a right to be in the same room as the mother of your child while she delivers the baby. This is according to the court system. Do the research in your particular area, though, as this may differ from state to state. It's important that you do.

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Moskowitz Law Group, LLC advocates for the rights of fathers in New Jersey. If you have questions about your rights, feel free to contact our Bergen County family law attorneys to schedule a free case review.