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Legal Changes in Paternity Cases for Unwed Fathers

There has been a significant change in the paternity laws which affect unwed fathers.  This change applies to all pending cases as of July 1, 2023.  Whereas previously the law stated that unwed mothers were the sole, legal guardian of a child, now the new law establishes that once paternity has been established and the father has proven he’s the biological father of the child, the father has the same rights and responsibilities the mother has.  Once paternity has been established, both parents are considered the natural, legal guardians of a minor child and have equal rights and responsibilities that they would enjoy if they were married parents.

The new law establishes shared parental responsibility of the minor child once paternity has been established, meaning the parents must confer and make major decisions together.  Major decisions include, but are not limited to, education and health care decisions.


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