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Fathers' rights aren't much before the baby is born

Before a child is born, the father usually starts to show concern about the baby. When the father and mother aren't in a relationship any longer, this concern might not be considered by the mother at all. Unfortunately, there isn't much a father can do to assert his parental rights until after the baby is born.

When the woman is pregnant, any treatments for the child impact her health. The laws usually err on the side of the woman in these cases since she is an individual. This means that if you and the mother don't see eye-to-eye, there isn't usually a way that you can force her to do something that could benefit the baby.

You might find that you have to go through part of the pregnancy in the dark. It is up to the woman to decide what she will tell you about the pregnancy. Privacy laws mean that you can't just walk into the doctor's office. You can't demand copies of the test results or visit reports when the woman sees her doctor.

There are sometimes exceptions to the lack of options that a man has. For example, you might be able to assert your paternal rights if the woman is doing something on purpose to harm the baby.

Of course, the baby can't be give up for adoption legally without your consent. If you think that a woman who is pregnant with your child is considering adoption, you should learn your rights immediately. The last thing that you need is for her to be untruthful about the paternity and try to relinquish the baby on her own.

Source: FindLaw, "Fathers' Rights Before Birth," accessed March 24, 2017

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