Mothers generally do not need to establish their maternity. They usually give birth at a medical establishment or at least with a midwife present. There will be clear documentation establishing their biological connection to their child.
Fathers do not necessarily have that same clear connection. Married men benefit from a presumption of paternity. Hospitals in Iowa will put their name on the birth certificate when their wife has a child or if they were married to a woman at the time of the child’s conception.
Unmarried fathers have to take an extra step to establish their paternity and make use of their parental rights. How do men establish paternity in Iowa?
They cooperate with the mother
It is possible for both parents to work together to voluntarily acknowledge a man’s paternity. They can fill out paperwork at the hospital to have his name included on the birth certificate. The man can also fill out paperwork with the mother at any time while the child is still a minor. Those documents will result in the state adding his name to the birth certificate and recognizing him as the child’s father.
They can ask the courts for assistance
The mother of the child may not want to acknowledge the father due to uncertainty about paternity or a negative relationship between her and the father. The Iowa family courts can order paternity testing the two affirm a man’s relationship with a child. Depending on the results of those tests, the man may then be able to ask for shared parenting time and other parental rights.
Taking the time to establish paternity can benefit both an unmarried father and his child.