Do Parents have to be Married for the Father to have Legal Rights to a Child?

No, so long as the unmarried father is listed on the child’s birth certificate or he has executed an acknowledgement of paternity which has been recorded with the Department of Vital Records. If a child is born out of wedlock, a paternity action can be filed to establish full legal rights and obligations. There is no presumption as to who the father of a child is when that child is born unless the mother is married, in which case it is presumed the mother’s husband is the father. When mother and father aren’t married, the unmarried biological father must go to court to seek an order to establish his rights.