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Can You Keep a Pregnancy Secret from the Father?

If you find out that you’re pregnant, can you keep the pregnancy and child a secret from the biological father? Most people are surprised to find that there aren’t laws in each state that mandate that a mother has to contact potential biological fathers. So, can you keep a pregnancy and baby a secret—it depends on a few things, and it’s definitely not going to be easy, especially with social media. 

Technically, Yes 

In some states, there is no law that would require a mother to inform the biological father of a pregnancy or a child’s birth. However, keeping a baby secret in most situations isn’t easy and, if a man were to find out that he was the father of the child, he could request rights to the child, regardless of what is on the birth certificate. Under Utah law the biological father is considered to be on notice of a potential pregnancy simply by engaging in a sexual relationship with the mother. There are some situations where it would be more difficult for a man to find out about his potential child’s existence and birth. For example, if the woman had no contact with the father after the child was conceived and placed the child up for adoption, it would be difficult for the biological father to discover the existence of the child—especially if he didn’t know to look for the child in the first place. 

Can Men Demand DNA Tests? 

So, you see pictures of your ex on Facebook with a child that’s old enough to be yours—can you get a paternity test? If you have good reason to believe that your ex has hidden a pregnancy and child from you, you may be able to get a court-ordered paternity test in order to establish paternity. Your ex can choose to do this voluntarily. However, without a court order, you will not be able to insist upon a paternity test. If your ex has a court order to have a paternity test for your child (or children), you cannot refuse to take the test. 

Child Support and Custody 

If the results of the paternity test show that you are the father, you will have rights to the child and you will be financially obligated to the child. There is no way to have rights to the child and no child-support obligation. On the contrary, there is no way to get child-support and ensure your ex has no rights to the child. There are many mothers who do not establish paternity in order to ensure that there is no court order forcing them to share custody with the biological father—however this also means that these mothers don’t have the financial assistance of child support. This is common in situations where the mother doesn’t want to share custody and the father is all too happy not to be involved. 

Adoption and Father’s Rights 

It can be difficult for biological fathers to find out about children that were placed up for adoption, especially if those children were born out of state. Many states have a putative father registry that allows potential fathers to register in order to be notified about the birth of any children they may have fathered. If you are the biological father of a child, you will get some say in whether or not the child is put up for adoption. In some cases, you may be able to prevent your biological child from being put up for adoption, and you may be able to obtain custody of the child, even if the biological mother does not want to be involved. If this is a situation you are currently in, you may need to speak to an attorney who can give you specific legal advice. 

Abortion and Father’s Rights 

Unlike adoption, men do not have the right to determine whether or not a woman has an abortion, even if they are 100% certain that the fetus is their biological offspring. Furthermore, it does not matter even if the father and mother are married. If a woman decides to have an abortion, she does not need to get her husband’s permission, and can likely do so without his knowledge as spouses do not have the right to view each other’s medical records without written permission. 

When You Need Advice 

If you are in a situation where you need advice regarding complicated custody matters, you need to speak with a family law attorney as soon as possible in order to get the best outcome possible. If you’re ready to fight for your rights, CoilLaw is here for you. Contact us for an initial consultation. 


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