For most men, finding out you're about to be a father is a life-changing and emotional experience. Just as the expectant mother plays a significant role in the child's life before birth, a father can as well. It is important for soon-to-be fathers to recognize and understand their parental rights long before their child enters the world.
When it comes to health care decisions related to an unborn child, the expectant mother typically trumps all. If the expectant mother and soon-to-be father are in disagreement about an unborn child's prenatal care, there is little that can be done outside of the mother's wishes. If a soon-to-be father wants to be involved in the healthcare of their unborn child, he must first receive approval from the expectant mother. HIPAA rules dictate what information a soon-to-be father is privy to. These laws restrict a soon-to-be father from accessing medical records related to the unborn child's mother. HIPAA does, however, allow them access their child's medical information after birth.
Fathers that establish paternity and have legal parental rights must give consent before a child is put up for adoption. Unfortunately, if paternity and parental rights have not been established, they may not be able to successfully contest an adoption.
Soon-to-be fathers that wish to exercise their parental rights should begin by establishing paternity. This can be done in several different ways but should be done with the help of an experienced family law attorney. If paternity is not voluntarily established or is being contested by the expectant mother, soon-to-be fathers may find it beneficial to work with a lawyer that specializes in fathers' rights.