When a child is born, there are four ways to categorize the father. First, the child may be born to parents out of wedlock, but the biological father acknowledges his parentage. He is now known as the acknowledged father and is required to pay child support. Even if no one acknowledges that he is the father of a child, there are criteria under which a man may be presumed to fill this role.
A man may be a presumed father if he was married to the mother during conception or at birth. He may also be presumed to be the father if he attempted to marry the mother of the child before birth or married the mother after the birth. Finally, a man may be a child's presumed father if he invites the child into his home and proclaims the child to be his.
A man can be labeled as an equitable father in some states if he raised the child or has a close relationship to it despite not being the child's biological or adoptive father. An unwed father is someone who impregnated the child's mother but did not marry her. He can bolster his parental rights by acknowledging his paternity. An unwed father's rights may be usurped if another man wishes to become the presumed father of his child.
For individuals who need help with paternity matters, it may be a good idea to seek the help of an attorney who can review the case to determine the best way to protect the client's rights. It may be possible for legal counsel to help an individual establish parentage and gain the legal rights and responsibilities that go along with it.