I often have young men come into my office to ask if they can give up their parental rights to a child because their ex is pregnant. Often the expectant mother has told the young man that he can give up his parental rights if he will just leave her and the child alone (and she promises not to ask for child support at any time in the future).
First of all, there really aren’t any parental rights until the child is born.
Also, you can NOT sign over your parental rights unless there is someone else ready, willing and able to take over (an example would be an adoption).
If the mother says you are the father, but you are not married, then you have the right to sign or not sign the birth certificate. If you sign the birth certificate, you are stating that you will accept being the legal father of this child with all of the rights and responsibilities that come with being a father. If you do not sign the birth certificate, then you are not the legal father until and unless other actions take place.
The mother can take you to court for child support, at which time you can request a DNA test to make sure you are the father. If the court determines that you are the father via the DNA test results, they can then order you to pay child support. If the court determines that you are not the father via DNA test results, then the court can not order you to pay child support based on the DNA results.
You can also go to court and accept responsibility for the child by stating under oath that you are the father without going the DNA route, but take note that you cannot take a DNA test later and overrule this statement so you had better be sure this is what you want to do.
If you have questions about this, or any legal topic, please contact the office of Beavers Law, P.C. at 757-234-4650 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also visit us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com.