Your name is listed on the birth certificate after you sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. This creates the presumption of paternity that you are child’s legal father. The presumption runs for 60 days from the date of signing, during which time you may withdraw your signature. If 60 days has passed and you did not withdraw your signature, you are the child’s legal father by operation of law. You will still need to go to court to establish a parenting plan and child support obligations, especially if you and the mother are no longer getting along.

The case is more complicated if the mother of the child was married to another man at the time of the child’s birth because the husband is presumed to be the legal father and he will have to file an action to disestablish paternity in order invalidate the presumption that he is the child’s legal father before you, the biological father, can have legal rights to the child.